Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Second of Five

Tonight I walked from Bancroft and Piedmont to University and San Pablo. A distance of about 3 miles. Backwards.

The Cheney Cottage Second Floor, up on the dollies and ready to roll

We moved the second floor of the Cheney Cottage tonight, and it was quite an event. Despite the fact that the City of Berkeley had given us a permit to move the house, there were no police officers or tow trucks available to help when people parked in the temporary no parking zones. So although we moved the house up the hill to Piedmont at 6 PM, it took until 8 before the cars were moved. The Berkeley PD clearly had heard nothing of this move, despite all the signatures we had gotten from Planning, Traffic etc. So even though we had a permit to be on the streets from 6 to 9 30, we didn't get to start until 8 PM.

Starting the move

But we finally got underway at, and it went incredibly smoothly. Tom rode in our car behind the Cheney Cottage, and helped stop traffic. I walked in front of the Cottage with Phil, and we walked backwards most of the way, watching the house bearing down on us.

Because we had cut the eaves off the house, the second floor was actually about 2 feet slimmer than the first, so it sent down the streets with very little difficulty. And although there was traffic, we ran into very few problems. Most of the people were more interested in what we were doing than irritated by delays, and everything went well. Kevin Hufferd had arranged for us to have a Campus Police escort, which was a huge help.

The Cheney Cottage at Shattuck and University - with the lights on

When we got to the Gill Tract at Albany Village, the house bogged down in the mud, so it is sitting outside the gate tonight. Tomorrow, Phil and crew will jack it up and get it out of the mud, and pull it the last 50 feet into its temporary holding area, next to the first floor. We'll also haul away the last of the debris at the old College Avenue site, so the University can start their construction work.

The Cheney Cottage turning east on Gilman Street

At the gate, we found a surprise: Kevin Hufferd had left us a congratulatory note and two bottles of champagne. Because tomorrow is Phil's birthday, we had made brownies and brought a candle - so we have an impromptu celebration, with food and drink.

So now we've done 2 of the 5 moves. When the City of Berkeley gets around to giving us the permits, we'll move the Delaney House to the back of the lot, then move the two pieces of the Cheney Cottage to 62nd Street, and put them back together.


  1. I love the lights being on -- how did you do that, and was it mandatory because you were moving in the dark?

    Next time you move a house, can you do it on Hallowe'en, and hand out candy to kids lined up for trick-or-treating? Or make it a Mardi Gras float.

  2. They put a generator inside and strung lights around. It was incredibly cool. I love the Hallowe'en idea, though! But if we're still moving houses in October, I'll be about ready to shoot myself.

  3. Wow! You two are the most amazing. Need any unskilled clueless laborer this weekend? xox

  4. Congratulations Dmitri and Tom. Great pictures! I hope those darn City folks get their act together and give you your permits =)