A Moving Experience…

The New York Times had an interesting article yesterday morning on moving houses.  This had me running through my (very limited) photo archives to turn up “moving pictures,” right here in Salem.  Of course the BIGGEST project was Gatke Hall, formerly the Salem Post Office and for years in the Guinness Book of records as the heaviest building ever moved (now on Willamette campus at State and 12th)

and in that class of BIG moving jobs, was this one where the First Presbyterian church was moved around on it’s lot, once the parsonage (on the right in the photo) was removed (and brought down to the CCRHD*)…

Then in 1988 when the Mission Street overpass was built, the adorable and historic Carmelita Barquist house was moved from the corner of 14th and Mission ALSO into the CCRHD*

David West moved the Carelton Smith house down to Cannon Street for an office

and finally about 2008 the house that had been a restaurant for years on Cottage Street (the Heritage Tree), moved down State Street to it’s new location…

and yes…I’m considering a follow-up post where I show you what all these buildings look like today…stay tuned…

*Court Chemeketa Residential Historic District


  1. It’s so sad when houses are demolished instead of reused. In addition to the aesthetic dimension of preserving an old house, there is the embodied energy in the construction and materials of a house. I think it takes a generation or two for new construction to “save” the embodied energy in an old house or building. It’s doubly sad when they are demolished for a parking lot or other emptiness. It’s good to talk up house-moving!

  2. You missed one! I can’t remember the year, but maybe 1960, Bill and Norma Paulus meant to move an historic Victorian slated for demolition from a spot near the Capitol, to a nearby spot. They intended to renovate the house and Bill would use it as an office. As the crane picked it up, the cabling broke and the house smashed to the street and was destroyed. You should ask Fritz for more detail. This story is of course famous in our family…

  3. That would be the Reuben Boise House…they had to cut the house in half and it was the top half that got dropped…think I have a “before” photo of that somewhere…didn’t realize Bill & Norma were in on the deal!

    The thing that makes houses hard (and expensive) to move now are the combination of the long-arm fixed stoplights (which have to be dismantled by City crews) and the Comcast cable lines…back in the day it wasn’t such a problem. In the suburban Chicago of my childhood houses were moved ALL the time…and our house, The Weller/Chamberlin house in the CCRHD, was moved twice!

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