Moving the Millers' Minnie Moore Mine Mansion: A True Story

Moving the Millers' Minnie Moore Mine Mansion: A True Story
Age Range
Release Date
June 06, 2023
Buy This Book
Make way for history as only Dave Eggers could stage it. It all started when John “Minnie” Moore built a mine in Idaho and sold it to Englishman Henry Miller. Then Henry married a local lass named Annie and built her a mansion, hence the “Millers’ Minnie Moore Mine Mansion.” After Henry died and Annie was hoodwinked—losing all but the mansion—she and her son took to raising pigs in the yard, as some are wont to do. But the town wanted those pigs out. Who could have guessed that Annie and her crew would remove the whole mansion instead—rolling it away slowly on logs—while she and her son were still living in it? Narrated with metafictional flair, this delightfully illustrated picture book is proof positive that nonfiction can be as lively and artful as any storybook.

Editor review

1 review
Interesting Turn of the 19th Century History
(Updated: June 08, 2023)
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
In the 1800s, John “Minnie” Moore built a mine in Idaho after silver was found nearby. Evntually, he sold it to Englishman Henry Miller, who moved to the area with his wife and son. As wealthy people then did, he built an ornate mansion for his family. When he died, his wife struggled to make ends meet, but took up raising pigs as a source of income. The only problem? This was not allowed within the city limits. Rather than give up her livlihood or her beloved house, she decide to move the house four miles out of town. This was accomplished by disassembling the foundation, numbering the stones so that they could be put back together in order, and rolling the house on logs. This took a month to accomplish, and apparently did not damage the house too much, as it still stands as one of the best examples of Victorian architecture in Idaho.

Good Points
As the text points out several times, this is based on a true story. There is much that is humorous about many things in the book, even though there is the sadness of Henry Miller dying. The pigs, in particular, are played for laughs, and in 1950s cookbook tradition, the last page shows a pig's smiling face on a platter!

The sepia toned illustrations pay homage to the times, and there are plenty of details of the house, the clothing of the people, and the surrounding area that give an excellent flavor of the turn of the last century. It would have been nice to have included a photograph of the house as it is today, or even some vintage shots, since a cursory look around the internet only showed one from the Idaho Historical society. I find this time period interesting, so some more supporting facts in an end note would have delighted me.

There aren't all that many books about architecture for children, but this is a fun title for young readers who like their history with a side of humor. I'm now curious to see if there are other books about famous houses out there, in addition to general nonfiction books on architecture like What Adults Don’t Know About Architecture, The Power of Architecture: 25 Modern Buildings from Around the World, and Tardif's Metropolis. First up on my wish list? The Denver, Colorado mansion of the Unsinkable Molly Brown. When I visited there a few years ago, it looked like they could use some funding that the sale of such a book might provide.
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