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139-year-old house is moved six blocks in San Francisco - the first Victorian house to be moved in 50 years

Tim Gibson

23 February 2021

CROWDS of onlookers gathered Sunday 21 February to watch a 139-year-old two-storey Victorian house travel a journey of six blocks.

According to the San Francisco Historical Society, it was the first Victroian house to be moved in 50 years - and more than 600 people came out to watch.

They cheered as it struggled to make a hard right onto Golden Gate Avenue, and encouraged the movers on when it clipped the tops of trees and didn’t fall off the back of the truck.

The site of the original house, 807 Franklin Street, is to become a 48-unit, eight-storey apartment building.

Tim Brown, the owner of the house, paid USD $400,000 to move the historic building to 635 Fulton Street where it will be converted into seven residential units.

Above: Crowds gather to watch the historic move. Image courtesy of Kevin Syoza.

“These houses are part of the fabric of San Francisco,” said Fiona McDougall, a member of the Victorian Alliance, to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It’s important to preserve them rather than replacing them with a bunch of cold boxes.”

At a steady pace of one and half kilometres an hour, the house eventually reached its new home.

Along the way parking metres were ripped up, tree limbs were cut, and traffic signs relocated so the house could fit.

All in all, the mover had to secure permits from more than 15 different city agencies.

Moving historic buildings rather than demolishing them completely has become increasingly common.

In China, particularly, new methods of structural relocation are being implemented in a bid to preserve the few remaining historical structures that survived the cultural revolution.

The most recent and impressive of which was an 85-year-old primary school in Beijing. Chinese engineers attached hydraulic legs underneath the building, allowing it to walk 62-metres away from its original site.


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