Retirees move to Edgeley to live in house bought onlineEDGELEY, N.D. — It wasn’t the most traditional of circumstances that brought Jim and Sue Stiles to North Dakota, but nonetheless this retired couple plans to call the state their home for many years to come.
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
EDGELEY, N.D. — It wasn’t the most traditional of circumstances that brought Jim and Sue Stiles to North Dakota, but nonetheless this retired couple plans to call the state their home for many years to come.
“We’re thoroughly impressed thus far. Everyone has been so friendly,” said Jim Stiles, a 57-year-old man who retired five years ago as a computer technician with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Jim, along with his wife, Sue, have been owners of a two-bedroom, two-story home in Edgeley — a town in LaMoure County of about 600 people — since last October. That was when Jim bought the house located in this small southeastern North Dakota town sight unseen on the auction website eBay.
He paid about $7,600 for the home, which was appraised for about $15,000.
“Sometimes you just have a feeling things will work out when you do something like this, and so far it has. We have no complaints,” he said.
Why, of all towns, Edgeley? In, of all states, North Dakota? These are just some of the questions that family and friends have asked of the couple, who has lived in such places as Okinawa, Japan and Mons, Belgium, over the course of their 30-year marriage.
The couple had been looking for a place to call their permanent retirement home, with Jim scoping out potential properties in the area for the past couple years.
“I went to school in southern Minnesota at Carlton College, so I was somewhat familiar with the upper Midwest,” Jim said. “After I graduated college in 1974, I actually purchased some land in Clifford (N.D.) and had a plan to build a house on it one day.”
Jim still owns that land in Traill County, but has never built on the property. Thirty-eight years after buying the property, the idea of small-town living still greatly appealed to him, though — and Sue agreed.
“Everything here is so close, so convenient. People wave from their cars while we’re walking down the street and our church is two blocks down the street,” Sue said.
Edgeley’s website was also a contributing factor, as the couple said it impressed them enough to make them feel as though they would be very welcome here.
“Small towns have that something about them that is so hard to describe. We have peacefulness — a serenity about us — and when someone’s in need, we all pull together for each other,” said Joy Powers, webmaster of Edgeley’s website www.edgeley.com.
In addition to a desire for a small-town lifestyle, Jim has been an amateur ham radio operator for 40 years, and was looking at North Dakota because he said the state has less congestion on the radio frequency than others.
His ham radio is installed, but he said he needs to do some tree-trimming at the house prior to putting up a proper antenna to further his lifelong hobby.
The home was originally built in 1915 and Jim, through eBay, purchased a postcard from that time period. The postcard showcases the original house and, on the back, highlights some of the upgrades that were most significant in 1915.
Using that postcard as a template, the Stiles are planning to fix up the home to its original condition — with a few upgrades concurrent with 2012, rather than 1915.
“We want to restore it back to its original look from 1915,” Jim said. “It’s going to take us a few years, but we’re going to take it slow and take our time to do so.”
The couple said the house, for the most part, is in pretty good shape but still needs work on the siding, windows and foundation.
“We’re really looking forward to doing the work and looking forward to the end result,” Jim said.
Welcome to Edgeley
As for their two weeks thus far in Edgeley, the couple said they have enjoyed simple things about the town.
“Everything you really need is right here, all the basics,” Jim said.
Sue said she has enjoyed just going to the local market and meeting neighbors, whom she said have been nothing but friendly and welcoming.
Those are the advantages of living in a small town, according to Edgeley Mayor Steve Powers.
“Things aren’t rush, rush, rush all the time and I think there’s a lot of people out there looking for that,” Steve Powers said. “You live in a town of 600 people, everybody knows everybody and everybody gets along. We look out for each other.”
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com