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Moorhead-area church free to whoever hauls it away

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One old church, free to a good home.

But there's a catch: The church, which was built in 1896 for $2,000, is free to anyone willing to come and haul it away.

Members of the now-defunct Oak Mound Congregational Church, located in Kragnes Township, just north of Moorhead, told Forum News they were forced to close the church after the 2011 floods.

“It cost too much to fix up, not enough members to do it,” longtime Oak Mound Congregational Church member Alvin Swanson, told Forum. “We had insurance, but it didn’t cover seepage.”

The congregation had continued to shrink over the years, and by the time it finally closed three years ago, attendance was hovering at 30 to 35 people. Now members are hoping someone will take the building away and turn it into a place of worship again, instead of letting it deteriorate and fall away.

The church holds a lot of memories. Alex Swanson, the grandson of Alvin Swanson, told Valley News Live, "Many people were baptized, confirmed and married all in the same church, and even where their parents and grandparents funerals were held."

The land beneath the church will be deeded over to the adjacent Oak Mound Cemetery, Forum reports. The Swansons say they plan to plant trees where the church stood and leave the church's sign up, Valley News Live notes.

This isn't the first building that's been free, so long as the new owner comes to take it away. Last year there were no takers for a house in Duluth that was offered free to anyone who would move it at their own expense. The Duluth News Tribune reported that while 50 people expressed interest in the newly remodeled residence, moving the solid brick 2.5-story house proved too tricky. Moving costs exceeded the value of the home, which was assessed at $139,50. The house had been the leasing office for a new housing complex.

In January, a Fargo, North Dakota, Victorian-style home built in 1900 was up for the taking as long as someone came to pick it up.

Bankrate.com says that many buildings will go up for sale for as low as $1, but come with the stipulation that the buyer must move it. The website says it typically costs $12 to $16 per square foot to move a home, but the move rarely goes smoothly.

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