Village takes shape with move of historic Kolb ranch

Center, which will include museum, classroom and theater, will open spring 2010

Crews are hard at work piecing together history like a jigsaw puzzle in Dublin for what will become a replication of a working ranch.

Last month, a professional moving company that specializes in transporting houses transferred five historic buildings owned by the Kolb family from Dublin Canyon Road in Pleasanton to a new site on Dublin Boulevard off of Foothill Road, known as Dublin Village.

The job was no easy task and required a lot of strategic planning. The city of Dublin worked with the city of Pleasanton in permitting and street closures to make the move seamless, according to Herma Lichtenstein, who is Dublin's parks and facilities development manager. So, the big move commenced at 10 p.m. the first Friday night and went relatively well the following Friday night as all the structures were transferred about 2 miles north.

The buildings include a main house, a Sunday school barn, a cottage, hay barn and pumphouse, in addition to accessory structures.

"The main house will eventually become a museum," Lichtenstein said. "Then we moved the Sunday school barn, which will eventually become a small classroom and a theater."

The relocation is a homecoming of sorts. Historically, Dublin Canyon Road used to be a part of Dublin, but became Pleasanton after Interstate 580 was constructed. The Kolb family, which has donated the buildings, originally had the Sunday school barn in Dublin just across the street from where it currently is.

The buildings have been placed on a 4-acre parcel near the Dublin Heritage Center. The project, including relocation and renovations, is expected to cost $2.4 million and is being funded through different sources.

"It's funded through General Fund monies, donations, the Kolbs are donating some funds to help with the moves and there were developer fees that helped cover the work, Lichtenstein said. "This has been from start to finish a five-year process. The Kolbs donated the buildings to us and it was concurrent with the city looking at trying to reestablish some sense of historic district because we do have our Heritage Center."

The park site is part of what used to be the original downtown of Dublin. Lichtenstein said crews are currently piecing together the buildings after strategically cutting them for the move, and placing them on foundations. She said all of them are in excellent or good condition.

"It's going to be a good representation of how a working ranch would have looked," Litchenstein said. "One of the things we are trying to do is maintain the historic integrity once we move the buildings over and keep our ability to get them on the (historical) register at some point, and so part of that has to do with how the buildings are laid out and how they relate to one another. When we moved them, the layout mimics what was at the original site."

After the buildings are properly placed, workers will begin the landscaping. The project is expected to be finished early next year, with a grand opening by late spring, Lichtenstein said.

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