Foundation Follow-up (Nov. 9, 2017): The new foundation under the replanted house at 4 Washington Avenue, along the Mohawk River, in the Schenectady Stockade, is complete. See the Slideshow immediately after this update. I was told this morning by contractor Garrett Plowman that as soon as this afternoon, trucks will be bringing in the fill dirt — some 80 cubic yards delivered by 60 trucks. Click here to see an artist’s rendition of the finished house, held by the architect, Frank Gilmore.
. . above Slideshow, photos taken November 9, 2017 . .
BIG UPDATE (September 13, 2017; 1 PM): Larmon House Movers did final preparations this morning for rolling 4 Washington Avenue to the new location on its lot. By noon, the move to the final location of the house was completed. Photos are being added to the Slideshow below, near the bottom of this posting (showing the process of this project, with images since May). The house will be jacked up in place about another foot, with “cribs” [stacked blocks] placed under it to hold it up while the foundation is being built under it.
. . above: 4 Washington Ave. has moved to its final destination; [L] Contractor James Plowman at start of today’s move; [R] onlookers view house at final location (11:30 AM, Sept. 13, 2017); below (3PM): northeast view of house [L]; wheeled jacks removed, cribs in place:
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. . above: rear of 4 Washington Ave. [L] & 6 Washington Ave. during flooding post-Hurricane Irene (Aug. 28, 2011) . .
. . left: flood waters from Hurricane Irene at River end of Washington Ave. with #4 & #6 on left . .
. . left: floodwaters at end of Washington Ave., with neighbors at stoop of 6 Washington Ave. (vintage photo from collection of Schenectady County Historical Society, undated)
Meredith Anker’s home at 4 Washington Avenue, in the Schenectady Stockade Historic District, was constructed circa 1820. It was built along the Washington Avenue lot line, with no front lawn, but a spacious rear and side yard that borders the Mohawk River. Flooding in 2011 due to waters associated with Hurricane Irene did dramatic and traumatic damage to the first floor of Meredith’s home. Immediately below are photos of the front of the house and its yard taken last May:
. . above: 4 Washington Ave. & yard (May 18, 2016) . .
In response, Meredith has asked the Schenectady Historic District Committee for permission to raise and move the house to another location on its lot. If the current project is successful, sometime this summer (2017), the house will be elevated about 12.0 feet and set back 15 to 20 feet from Washington Avenue, in order to remove it from the River’s flood plain. See “Stockade project to move historic home from flood plain underway” (Albany Times Union, by Paul Nelson, July 20, 2017). It took the homeowner, her architect (and across-the-street neighbor) Frank Gilmore, and contractor Jim Plowman, several sessions before Schenectady’s Historic District Commission approved the lift-and-move project, which is the first such project in the Stockade Historic District, where paint colors and removal of window shutters need Commission permission. See “Panel OKs plan to elevate Schenectady home above flood zone” (Times Union, by Paul Nelson, November 17, 2015); and “Homeowner allowed to raise, move Stockade house: After nearly half a year of discussion, the Schenectady Historic District Commission reluctantly agrees” (Schenectady Daily Gazette, by Haley Viccaro, November 16, 2015; $ub. req’d). The sketch to the right of this paragraph is the rendering submitted to the Historic Commission when seeking its approval for the project.
The blank wall in the sketch represents 6 Washington Avenue, the home of Scott Andrus and Jone Jensen, who are watching the process closely, and are not sure what to expect. The Historic Commission made it clear that they have not yet reviewed or approved the final design scheme (colors, landscaping, etc.).
. . above: the rear lawn of 4 Washington Avenue, with Mohawk River on the left (photo by Peter Barber of the Daily Gazette) . .
Larmon House Movers is in charge of the short trip. However, the first-phase lift and shift has not yet happened, because National Grid has not yet honored the request that it turn off the gas line. According to the Times Union:
[T]he structure will remain at a temporary site for upwards of a month, which will give the crew time to fill in and shore up the foundation at the new spot, said [contractor Jim] Plowman. A one-car garage will be built into the foundation.
- update (September 7, 2017): I learned this morning from James Plowman, the general contractor for the project, that they have decided to move the house directly to its final location (15 feet back from the street and 20′ farther from the River), rather than risk more jostling of the old structure by moving first to a temporary location while the new foundation is being constructed. They will be bringing in dirt for fill and then the big wheels on dollies for the move, with Monday, September 11, 2017, now seeming like the likely day for the move.
Since I first saw the large gray metal container sitting alongside Meredith’s house in early May, I have been sporadically photographing this historic process, and (if the creek don’t rise) I plan to continue documenting the move as the process unfolds — and will add images to this posting as they are taken.
We have had a lot or rain lately, and many sidewalk kibitzers and amateur engineers have offered me and other neighbors skeptical predictions about the likelihood that the ancient structure, with its flagstone and brick foundation, can be successfully and safely moved. Like virtually all Stockade homes, the original home has had additions appended to it. Whether it is out of an abundance of caution or true necessity, yesterday (Friday, July 28, 2017), workers strung a metal cable and chain around the structure. See the photo to the right of this paragraph.
At the date of this posting, the Slideshow below displays photos in chronological order, taken from May 10 through the end of July 29, 2017. As mentioned above, photos will be added as the project progresses. [followup: the Slideshow has somehow asserted a will of its own, and refuses to stay in chronological order; on the bright side, it allows the viewer to compare various phases of the project.]
- As always, you can see a larger version of an image in the Slideshow by pausing it on the image, right-clicking and choosing See Image in New Tab.
update (September 5, 2017): Despite all my anticipation, I missed the actual lifting of the house today, but took a few photos this evening (Tues, Sept. 5), including:
. . above scene after first day of lifting (click on photo for larger version). .
According to an article posted online this evening at the Schenectady Daily Gazette website, “Stockade home elevated ahead of move
” (by Brett Samuels, Sept. 5, 2017), the house is about 10 feet above its foundation, but the crew will probably not be back to finish this phase until next week, when it will be moved on wheels or using steel girders to a temporary spot while the new foundation if poured, etc. The Gazette also said that they had to stop lifting to figure how what to do about a chimney that was not part of the original structure of the house, that was separating from the structure. They put some straps around it (see image at right).
. . above: 1-9 Washington Ave., Aug. 28, 2011 . .
. . above: construction crew, Western Gateway Bridge, and a fancy boat viewed from in front of elevated house at 4 Washington Ave. (Sept. 7, 2017) . .
. . above: Garret (standing) and Jim Plowman watch Lorman crew securing girders under the elevated house to prepare for the big move (Sept. 11, 2017)