Friday, September 17, 2010

The Third of Five

The Delaney House has been moved to the back of the lot on 62nd Street.

As always, we continue to be amazed by the sheer force of will that is Phil Joy. Phil spent two days at the site. On Wednesday, he and his crew installed cribbing under the Delaney House, jacked it up, and the basement walls were pulled apart. Tom spent some time digging out the last couple rose bushes to be saved, and I demolished the front stairs.

Anyone who went up the old front stairs of the Delaney House would know that they were not in good shape, but taking them apart was a revelation. The redwood siding was in good shape, but the support posts of the front stairs, unlike the rest of the house, were not made of redwood, and so were completely rotted. I had a hammer - no pry bar or anything else to work with - and within about 5 minutes, the stairs were gone.

Yesterday, they erected more cribbing further back on the lot, and put rollers under the beams supporting the house. The house was then gently rolled backwards towards its new place, about 40 feet back.

The process of actually moving it is almost anti-climatic. When they are ready for the next pull, Phil attaches chains to the bobcat, and then gently tugs on the house. The house gently slides back, appearing almost effortless. Despite the size of the house and the weight of it, it seems to glide.
Phil using the bobcat to gently pull the house back

Phil also used the bobcat to dig out the two big roses (that we thought we couldn't save) and we moved them to the backyard of the Delaney House. The house still has a good sized back yard, and Phil also used the bobcat to clear away all the brush and debris from under the redwood tree. Tom took two loads of it to the dump, and the back yard is now significantly larger than it had been.

We'll spend this weekend doing clean up, and beginning the demolition of the old foundation. On Monday, Phill will come back to slide the house two or three feet to the west, and to get it perfectly centered on its new location.

Tom, Phil Joy, and Dmitri after the house moved back

And then, when the City of Berkeley gives us the permits, we'll move the Cheney Cottage. We are finally making real progress here!

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