Couple Turns Abandoned School Into Dream Home | VideoEvan Kruegel | 10/24/2012
The Twin Butte schoolhouse sat empty outside Williston for 61 years, but when Mark and Mary Pettersen came across it, they immediately fell in love.
"Who wouldn`t? It`s beautiful," said Mark.
Last October, they stumbled upon the school while taking a leisurely Sunday drive. The building was slowly falling apart and quickly being surrounded by oil wells. They approached the landowner, who was more than happy to part ways with the building under the condition that it would be restored.
Mark knew it would be an expensive project and that people would question his motives. However, one look at his mustache makes it clear that he doesn`t mind doing things that others might think are out of the ordinary.
"What a neat thing to do. I want to be out here and have something kind of different, and my father was a teacher in a one room school house, so I think it`s kind of neat," he said.
Finding available real estate in the area is nearly impossible, so it took the Pettersens nearly five months to buy three acres of land just west of town. Transporting the schoolhouse 40 miles to that land was another matter.
They got stuck on a bridge trying to cross the Little Muddy River, had to remove the house`s steeple,and had to have electrical companies lift over 25 lines along the way. But once it arrived, they knew the work was worth it.
"It`s a great view. It`s kind of a lonely type of feeling, like they possibly would have had way back when," Mark said.
The couple has done some research, but they`d still like to uncover more history about their soon-to-be-home.
"It would be interesting to know of people who went there or had relatives who went there, or some pictures or some history,Ē Mark said.
There`s a lot of work left to do before the house is livable, but for the Pettersens, they feel as if they`ve rescued their home from an untimely demise.