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Business expansions and home relocations: Moves mean progress for Berne

BERNE, Ind.-In today's mobile society, moving is an everyday occurrence, so it seldom seems newsworthy. But when a home moves, it becomes front-page news. Over the years, a number of homes have traveled down the streets of Berne, and in each case the move has meant progress for the city.

Moser Motor Sales became a Ford dealership in 1914 and today is one of the oldest dealerships in the nation. It began as A.J. Moser Co. in 1904, and sold and serviced steam engines and threshing machines. After it became a car dealership, it expanded to include heavy truck sales too.

As the business grew, Moser Motors needed a building to service trucks and a larger lot for its new and used cars. To accommodate the expansion, on Dec. 4, 1962, the home of Ed and Anna Ray was moved from its Franklin Street location to 875 Sprunger St.

The move was big news in Berne, and it attracted the attention of the Indianapolis News as well. The reason for the increased interest was that the Ray home was relocated at the same time as a second home, which was owned by C.E. Stuckey. The Stuckey home was moved from Water St. to 865 Sprunger St. to make room for expansion at the Cross United Church of Christ.

Jerry and Kay Flueckiger now own the former Ray home, and Mrs. Flueckiger remembers very clearly the day of the double relocation. She said, "We came to town just to watch." Following some remodeling by Mr. Flueckiger, the couple moved in just after the Palm Sunday tornado. "We've been here ever since," said Mrs. Flueckiger, "and we love it."

In 1936, Walter and Ada Stucky were living on Main Street in a large rental home that was owned by Judith Wittwer of Fort Wayne. The government announced plans to build a new post office at that location, so the home was moved to 665 High St.

In the years after the move, Alan and Cindy Habegger lived in the home. Mr. Habegger said he believes the house was built in the late 1800s. "My grandmother told me she remembered when the house sat where the post office is," he said. "It was used as an apartment and had an upstairs and a downstairs unit."

Lance and Jenne Sprunger are the present owners of the home.

Yager-Kirchhofer Funeral Home has been located in Berne since 1910 when it was Bierie & Yager Furniture & Undertaking. The name of the business was changed to Yager Funeral Home in 1937, and in 1986 it became Yager-Kirchhofer Funeral Home.

When the business needed to expand in the 1950s, two homes belonging to Dr. Ernest and Leah Franz were purchased and moved from their Main Street locations. The first home was the doctor's residence, which was relocated to 304 Harrison St. Andy and Liz Jones own the home today. The second home was Dr. Franz's office. It was moved to 517 Compromise St., and the present owners are Bud and Anita Marble.

Many more homes have been moved in Berne, and in each case the move has meant progress. Berne businesses and organizations have been careful to preserve existing structures as they have expanded their services to the community, and as a result, area residents have continued to enjoy living in homes that have been relocated while the community has enjoyed the benefits that come with progress and expansion.

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