The Kerr - Carpenter - Haigis House: The Move
The first step to moving a historic house is having a destination. As a sad testament to the lack of available house lots near the center of Foxborough, the only available nearby lot was home to a small bungalow. Shown here is the home on the corner of Central and Clark Streets.
The small bungalow was demolished so that the Kerr - Carpenter - Haigis house could be saved. A garage on the property was donated to a local school and moved there early one summer morning in 2006.
The lot this home stood at stretches from West Leonard Street to Clark street. By selecting this lot, the Kerr - Carpenter - Haigis home was able to maintain a frontage onto Central Street.
Soon the small bungalow had been razed by mover Gary Sylvester and the lot was ready to house a new home.
When moving a house, it needs to first be supported by steel beams. Here the front yard is being removed so that large beams can support both sides of the structure. Once beams are in place, they will rest on wooden blocks so that the foundation can be removed and the men can place equipment anywhere underneath the structure.
Gary Sylvester's crew starts to position the beams under the front portion of the home.
With the beams in place, the remainder of the front yard and home's original foundation can be removed. If you look closely, you can see that the structure rests on the beams and there isn't any contact with the ground/foundation. Since the Doctor's wing is being moved separately, it has its own set of steel supports.
Raise The Roof
First to be raised onto steel was the home's barn. The wood added to the doorway of the barn is to add stability during the move. You can see on the lower right that the steel under the barn has been outfitted with wheels--the barn is ready to go!
Similary, the Doctor's Wing/Office has been raised and has been outfitted with a set of wheels for the trip down Central Street in Foxborough.
Last, but certainly not least, the main house is outfitted with its gear for the move. In this shot, workers remove the extra blocks from the site. They then removed remnants of the foundation seen on the lower right, and finally partially graded the land so that the structures could be moved from the lot over a smooth surface--after all, you don't want to risk a historic structure to a pothole.
All Revved Up, and Ready to Go
The structures are placed in the order they will travel down Central Street to their new home. The barn has been moved into position first while the Doctor's wing is wheeled in behind it.
After the open ends of the structures are sealed up to prevent rain damage, the main house is swung in behind the Doctor's wing.
Now comes the long wait until tomorrow when the structures will be moved. All of the hard work to this point has the home ready for the journey to its new lot.
Utility workers have disconnected the overhead wires and the barn starts out onto Central Street at the corner of Howard Avenue. Note the obstacles of the telephone poll on the right and the granite curbing on the lower left.
The barn rolls out onto Central Street without issue.
As the barn passes the camera, the Doctor's wing proceeds out onto Central Street.
We are two for two on the obstacle course as the Doctor's wing floats easily to Central Street.
We might be done by noon--This moving houses business is easy!
I take everything I just said back. Gary instructs a member of his crew to swing the back end of the structure to the left.
And the rear wheels just didn't want to play nice that day.
As this photo shows, it never hurts to have a Bobcat around in case you need to lift up a house. Here the Bobcat takes the weight off of the wheel assembly so that it can be repaired and pointed in the right direction.
As the crew makes repairs to the wheels, the barn and Doctor's wing pass down Central Street to their new home at the corner of Central and Clark Streets.
The crew has repaired the wheels, removed the granite curbing at the corner of Howard Avenue and Central Streets, and the house is again on the move. As the structure edges onto Central Street, it looks like a collision with the telephone pole is imminent.
But with a pull here, and a push there, the structure squeezes by.
The main house turns onto Central Street.
Playing the part of the troll on the bridge that will not let someone pass is the sign for this downtown restaurant.
The bolts for the sign were loosened just enough to let the structure pass.
On The Road Again
From this point on, the main house moved slowly down Central Street and jogged slightly from left to right in order to avoid obstacles. The house literally rubbed against power lines on one side of the road to avoid trees on the other side of the road.
Clearly there was not much room for error.
At long last, the Doctor's wing and main house have arrived at their destination 3/10ths of a mile away.
Home Sweet Home
The first structure to arrive is the barn which is moved temporarily out of the way to the left. Eventually it will be permanently relocated just about where this photo is taken from.
Next, the Doctor's wing is lowered into its future home.
The Doctor's wing has turned the corner towards Clark Street.
With Gary Sylvester and Don Baker looking on, members of Gary's crew pull the wing into position.
The main house starts to back into the lot.
The main home being lowered back into the hole. And you thought parallel parking was tough?
Slowly the main house is edged towards the Doctor's wing.
With one final push as night rapidly approaches, the two halves touch and work stops for the evening.
The Morning After
The entire structure is then lifted high onto blocks so that the new foundation could be poured directly under the moved structure. The house was then lowered onto the foundation and the home was saved from demolition.
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