Sturgis, Michigan, a friendly town of 11,000 residents in Southwest Michigan had a plan to move and revitalize its aging Railroad Depot. The Depot was in need of repairs in an out-of-the-way area of town. Plans called for relocation to the vibrant downtown area for better visibility, where it could be repurposed and restored as an interactive children’s museum.
Built in 1867
41′ x 96′
17-24″ Thick Masonry Walls
3/4 Mile Move
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Wolfe House & Building Movers partnered with the City of Sturgis, the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Society and the Sturgis Area Community Foundation to plan, design and execute the move in the middle of the city’s annual Sturgis Fest.
Main Beams, or “Mains” are the solid foundation that the building stands on during all of the relocation work. These custom fabricated 27" Beams weigh 228 lbs per foot for a total of 20,520 lbs each. They are leveled up and supported on solid oak cribbing under the building.
Cross-Steel Beams or “Crossers” are placed next. These Beams are placed side-toside approximately every 4' to support the masonry above them. After each beam is installed, it is carefully wedged tight to the stone, inside and out. All interior floor framing and load-bearing points are also supported.
A Unified Jacking System lifts the building. The design of this hydraulic system ensures that each Jack will go up at exactly the same rate, regardless of the load on any particular Jack. A unified lift is essential in preventing any out-of-level condition as the building is raised.
After the building has been lifted enough for the Buckingham Power Dolly System to be installed, the old foundations are pushed in and the basement/ crawlspace hole is backfilled. Fill dirt is placed and compacted around and under the building.
The Buckingham Power Dolly System with Smart- Steer is the most advanced Dolly Moving Platform in the industry. Controlled by a central Hydraulic Power Unit, each Dolly is individually controlled, yet works in sync with all of the other dollies.
With the Depot now loaded and ready to go, the day is spent getting the new foundation at the relocation site ready to receive it. Crib piles are built and steel beams are placed as bridges out over the new foundation. The building will be driven sideways across the foundation.
At 4:00 PM sharp, the wheels begin to turn. The first phase of the move calls for a 300' journey down the railroad right-ofway in order to reach the highway. A move road of solid cribbing is built as the depot slowly moves in order to protect the tracks and create a solid surface to travel on.
Thursday the 26th dawns calm and clear. At 6:00 AM the main roads through town are closed and traffic is rerouted. The streets are quiet except for the MDOT crews getting an early start preparing their traffic signals for the move.