Sometimes the only way to save a historic building is to move it.
Over the years, our reputation for precision and structural moving expertise has led to several projects involving historic or fragile buildings. We take great pride in playing a part in preserving pieces of America’s architectural history through our work. Saving a building from demolition in order to preserve it for posterity is an honor for us to do.
We moved the 1050-ton brick Harriet Rees House in Chicago 1 block to its new location. The house was moved to make way for a
$600 million entertainment district project. The Rees House was named a Chicago landmark in 2012.
Two common concerns when moving a historic building are: Will a move damage the building? and Will a move damage the historic value of the building?
As an experienced moving contractor, we’ve successfully moved thousands of stone, brick, and wood framed buildings. The modern building lifting techniques and specialty transportation technologies we use are ideal for moving delicate historic structures with meticulous care and precision. Upholding the integrity of a historic building during the relocation process is always a concern. We apply our advanced lifting techniques to lift, balance, support, and move every historic piece in order to ensure the smoothest possible moving process. You’ll want to work with your state’s Historic Preservation Officer to discuss how a move could affect its historic classification.
Since 1970, we’ve helped preserve and protect hundreds of historic buildings throughout the United States. Homeowners, developers, and historic preservation groups have relied on us to raise, lift, and move hotels, mansions, historic homes, train stations, churches, and other unique structures.
Below, we’ve highlighted two historic building move projects: one involving the New York home of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, and the other a more than 120-year-old church near Harrisburg, PA that we relocated.
Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first treasury secretary, had this 2-story country home (or “The Grange”) built for himself in 1802. The Grange fell victim to a continual problem in Manhattan: lack of real estate space. Additionally, the Grange had become wedged between a 6-story apartment building and St. Luke’s Church, both of which obscured the historic artifact. It was clear that the Grange was not in an optimal location for future generations to enjoy. The house needed to be moved.
A protruding stone loggia on the church partially blocked in the Grange, which meant the house needed to be lifted 35 feet to clear the portico. Once the house was high enough to clear the obstacle, it was rolled over the portico and then lowered to street level. To properly support the house, 7,000 pieces of cribbing and nearly 2 miles of chain were used to stabilize and prepare the house for its block-long journey to its final destination in St. Nicholas Park.
The New York Times produced a fantastic interactive tool that illustrates the entire process of moving the home to St. Nicholas Park where the home would undergo restoration. In 2010 the building became an official national museum.
Please visit our project photo gallery to learn more about the Wolfe process of moving historic buildings.
Heckton United Methodist Church is a small chapel located just north of Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River. At the time of the move the church was 123 years old. It closed its doors in 2001 and was donated to the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. It had sustained continuous flood damage, the worst coming in 1972 after the nearby Susquehanna River dumped 68 inches of water and 6 inches of mud inside the church. The failing foundation and regular flooding had taken its toll on the old chapel, leaving it weak and fragile but very much loved.
Although the church’s membership had dwindled to only two just before it closed, many local couples chose to have their weddings in the quaint surroundings the chapel provided. The church was re-located to higher ground 1/4 mile down the road farther from the river banks to its new location at the south end of Fort Hunter Park.
To start a conversation about moving your historic building, contact Wolfe House & Building Movers today. We can discuss moving options, things to consider, and discuss if your building can be moved. Please use our contact form or give us a call at 610-488-1020 to request a free quote.