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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published July 17 2011

Halgrimson: Home has most unique roof in Moorhead

Moorhead - The house at 709 8th St. S., Moorhead, hasn’t always been a part of Concordia College.

Built in 1910 by Moorhead banker Lew A. Huntoon and designed by Bertrand and Chamberlin of Minneapolis, the building served as his family’s home until he died in 1915.

It was later purchased by Moorhead physician and surgeon Dr. Gilbert L. Gosslee.

Two of the Gosslee children attended Concordia, and during the Gosslees’ tenancy, they hosted many gatherings for the college’s students.

The Gosslee family lived at the home until 1945 when Dr. Gosslee died.

In 1945 after being purchased by Concordia, the house was used as a women’s dormitory and the Home Management House for home economics majors.

Concordia’s first president took residence in the house in 1951 when Joe Knutson moved in. Subsequent school Presidents Paul Dovre, Thomas W. Thompsen and Pamela Jolicoeur also lived in the home. The new president, William J. Craft moved in on July 11.

A tour of the home given to me by Dovre’s wife, Mardeth, exhibited the building’s suitability for entertaining. The kitchen, dining room, living room and adjacent sun room are large and flow together. I can imagine them filled with people. Spacious bedrooms occupy the second floor, and the third floor includes a ball room.

But what has always fascinated me about the brick and stucco house is the roof of cedar shingles, which I believe is unlike any other in our community.

The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, which requires that any renovations be appropriate to the English cottage style of the house. Recent renovations include the installation of a wheelchair ramp and replacing the roofing.

When the roofing was replaced in 1985, the company doing the work was C&H Roofing of Sioux Falls, S.D. One of the members of that firm was Barry Huber, who, out of necessity during a construction project, developed a process for bending cedar shingles using the steam from his stove. After more experimenting, Huber obtained three patents for steam-bending the shingles.

The bent cedar shingles are put down in waved courses, and the roof ends up looking thatched. It is beautiful. At first the shingles just have the color of raw wood. But with age and weathering, the roof becomes a lovely, soft gray.

Huber’s company, Huber & Associates Roofing Professionals, is now located in Lake City, Fla., and has done roofs throughout the United States and in several foreign countries.

One of Huber’s patents created Endureed, which is a synthetic roofing material made of man-made reeds.

The finished roof using this product resembles thatch.

Sources: Mardeth Dovre, Concordia archives, Howard Binford’s Guide, Forum files, www.huberandassociates.com/aboutus.html

Readers can contact Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com