A One Float Parade….

The moving of buildings, large and small, is a tradition here in New England. Years ago thrifty Yankees would recycle their buildings in many ways. Post and beam houses were disassembled and erected elsewhere. Entire buildings were jacked off their foundations, lowered onto log rollers, hitched to large teams of oxen or horse and taken to their new location. When lumber was cheap and iron nails dear, old houses would be burned for their nail content! Today, methods have changed but the tradition of moving buildings continues. The building moved yesterday, a former Methodist church built in 1853, was moved 2 blocks from #9 Liberty St. to #47 Rapallo Av. here in the city. Further North on Main St, the building next to O’Rourke’s Diner, also a church, was moved to that spot many years ago. Much more recent is the dismantling of the 18th century mill on Washington St. near West. St., and just several weeks ago, the dismantling of an 18th century house on West St, just above the Gulf station. These buildings have been preserved and will be erected elsewhere.

This particular move required much planning and co-ordination among the consulting overseer, the moving contractor, various utilities, and the CT DOT. Traffic lights street lamps, and utility lines had to be temporarily taken down or protected from the huge building which would take over most of Main Street for its passage. This preliminary work was done early Saturday evening and traffic was rerouted to enable the crews to work unimpeded. All was ready around 1:30 AM Sunday morning and the building was then seen to inch its way off the corner lot, over the curb, and onto Main Street. Once there and heading North one could measure its progress in inches per hour! It was a fascinating spectacle, one that attracted quite a few observers despite the late hour. All in all, a slow motion parade with only a single float; not something you see everyday! Oh, and this building will be converted into four low income housing units on Liberty St as part of the revitalization of the city’s North End, and will make way for commercial development of its former site at Liberty and Main.


Middletown North End Action Team (N.E.A.T.) Community Organizer Lydia Brewster

The North End Action Team is a grassroots advocacy group that began in the spring of 1997.
Purpose of N.E.A.T.as a non-profit community organization, shall, through its members and the Advisory Board, organize and mobilize the residents in the neighborhood, empowering them through a process of democratic decision-making and direct action, to address particular issues affecting the neighborhood. This corporation will propose neighborhood initiatives, design and produce communal events and fulfill the function of watchdog at City Hall and in the state government. N.E.A.T. shall not endorse political candidates or parties.

Our Mission:
The North End Action Team is a neighborhood advocacy group consisting of residents and stakeholders of the North End neighborhood of Middletown, Connecticut. It’s mission is to enrich and advocate for neighborhood interest.


N.E.A.T.’s storefront headquarters at Main St. and Rapallo Ave Middletown


Sign announcing the project featuring the major tenant It’s Only Natural Market


Developer Peter Harding (r) and Nehemiah Housing Corp.’s Michael Taylor (c)

In 1986, Middletown community members formed Nehemiah Housing Corporation to develop and operate a range of housing options for families and individuals who are unable to find quality affordable housing. Nehemiah builds communities by developing affordable housing for families and individuals with resident services and quality property management, as appropriate, with a focus on Middlesex County.


The happy new tenants: Don and Ann Marie Sataline owners of It’s Only Natural Market


Brian Cigal of TimberFrame Barn Conversions enjoys coffee and snacks provided for workers and spectators at N.E.A.T. headquarters by Lydia Brewster (r)


N.E.A.T. hospitality!


Workers dwarfed by the huge building and its carriage! John deNicholas (l) , Nicholas Bros., supervising.


Hydraulically powered aircraft type wheels and tires inch the building forward


Halfway into Main Street, starting to turn and head North


Moving North on Main Street; estimated speed an inch a minute!


Paul Cigal (r), overseer of project with Joe deNicholas, of Nicholas Bros.,the moving contractor,

I spoke with Paul Cigal today about his professional experiences and his involvement in this moving project:

Over the last 20+ years in the building trade and historic preservation field, I’ve had experience coordinating projects that involve moving buildings on wheels; with cranes; and by taking apart, moving by flatbed truck, and reassembling at a new location. My friend and former partner, David Berto, is involved in this Middletown project with N.E.A.T., and he contacted me to ask if I would participate in this one. These types of challanging projects are just what I like to accomplish and I jumped at the chance. Working for Peter Harding as project coordinator, I solicitated bids from the trades, applied for and secured the many permits required for the move, and completed tons of paperwork. I’d guess I talked with more than 100 people over the course of two months in order to move this house.

Contact Paul Cigal at paul@convertabarn.com

Go to the Nicholas Bros. website to see some of the amazing array of other buildings they have moved.

(all photos and video credit ConservaCity)

Hartford Courant articles yesterday, and earlier.

Also see Caterwauled blog for 7/3/07 ,8/9/07, and 10/1/07. for discussion of some of the controversy regarding this project.

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2 Responses to “A One Float Parade….”

  1. lvn600 Says:

    It was interesting to read about and watch. I enjoyed the Historical Background and videos.-It must have been fun to watch live.

  2. steadyjohn Says:

    It was fun, I met some new folks. I haven’t pulled an “allnighter” in some time. Thanks for your comment.
    John

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