DUBLIN — A big piece of Dublin history is coming back home, and it has not been an easy feat to accomplish.
After nearly two weeks of preparation, the final three historic buildings of Kolb Ranch will make their way back from Pleasanton, starting at 9 tonight.
The main house, old house and pump house of the century-old ranch will make a 2.8-mile trip from just off Dublin Canyon Road in Pleasanton to Heritage Park on Donlon Way in Dublin. The two barns made the trek last weekend in about 5½ hours, with the last piece rolling in at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
"It was like bringing history home and really anchoring it to our community," former Dublin Mayor Janet Lockhart said. "I think it will be good for everyone. It goes to our museum and gives the story of our immigrants."
For the Kolb family, it's a tale that began in 1904 when George Kolb went from running the general store at what is now Dublin Boulevard and Donlon Way to the ranching way of life with the purchase of 300 acres of land that stretched from where Dublin's Valley Christian School is located to Foothill High School in Pleasanton.
The area in between was considered part of Dublin before Interstate 580 split the Kolb land in the early 1950s. The five ranch structures ended up on the south side in Pleasanton.
"It was pretty devastating more than anything," George's granddaughter, Carol Kolb Strom, said about the interstate. "At the time, we didn't know we were going to be part of Pleasanton. It was still Dublin."
And it became part of Dublin again last week, with the first part of the move — the hay barn and a ranch barn that used to house a Sunday School. The Kolb Family Trust donated the five buildings to Dublin in 2008. The relocated buildings are expected to be open to the public by spring 2010. In a joint effort with the cities of Dublin and Pleasanton as well as the Police Department, Caltrans, Comcast, AT&T and PG&E, the first part of the moving Kolb legacy rolled back into Dublin last week, complete with a police escort.
Burt Fisher, who owns the Manteca-based Fisher Bros. House Moving company, prepared the move of the barns a week in advance. Fisher, a fifth-generation house mover, and his crew used a crane and Bobcat construction vehicle to slide massive steel beams underneath the barns.
The barns were then cut into two pieces. Each piece was then lifted with hydraulic jacks onto a series of dollies connected by wires, channels and cables.
Even though the Kolb Ranch site and Heritage Park are separated by less than a mile, Fisher chose a route that starts west on Dublin Canyon, then goes down Laurel Creek Drive onto Foothill Road and then onto San Ramon Road before making its way on Dublin Boulevard.
The route required a police escort, crews from Caltrans to loosen stoplights and swing them out of the way, and crews from Comcast, AT&T and PG&E to lift hanging power, cable and telephone lines so the barns could pass underneath.
"It was the ultimate game of limbo," said Herma Lichtenstein, project manager for Dublin's Parks and Community Services Department.
The city will play the same game tonight and follow the same route as the two barns.
The Kolb Ranch buildings will join the Murray Schoolhouse, Old St. Raymond Church and the Pioneer Cemetery, where the Kolb ancestors are buried, at Heritage Park.
"Everything is coming back to where my grandfather started out, right across the street," Strom said. "It is ironic that this would happen in that way, and then to have the Kolb plots right there in the Pioneer Cemetery is special."