(The all-night moving operation ended at 6:25; below, our coverage as it unfolded from midnight on)
(ADDED 3:19 AM: Video of the 2nd half of the 14-minute process to roll the home off its lot)
ORIGINAL 12:20 AM REPORT: We’re here along 42nd SW, about half a block north of the Junction QFC, where workers are in the early stage of the delicate process of moving an old house – broken down over the past few weeks of work, so that it’s more or less a roofless one-story box – from its original site in The Junction, part of a future development site, to a new location in the Admiral District. Background and photos here. We’ll be posting periodic updates. There’s a dozen-plus spectators out here. Tough photography conditions but we’ll be rolling video when actual action ensues, and photos are likely to be easier once the house is closer to the street lights. The crew’s having a meeting right now, which we can hear from across the street – getting safety reminders from their boss, hearing that traffic controls will be in place at both ends of this block of 42nd as they get started soon.
12:59 AM: The block is now closed from Oregon to Alaska. The crews are placing long wood strips to create ramps for the house, which has been jacked up on wheels, to roll onto the flatbed that’s also standing by.
1:24 AM: The house is rolling down the ramp momentarily.
1:51 AM: “This seems pretty improbable!” the house’s new owner, Jacques White, laughed nervously in the midst of the first phase of the move – getting the house off the lot and onto the street. That phase is now complete. We rolled video (up later) – it took about 15 minutes, once the tow truck started to pull it down a wide temporary ramp. We’ve been told they won’t start rolling it down the route to its new site until 3:30 am. It’s in the middle of 42nd SW on its trailer now, engines off, while the crew does some cleanup on its now-empty original site. Once it was fully onto the level street, the dozen-plus spectators hooted and cheered. White says the contractor tells him it will take about six months to make the house ready to live in; he and his wife currently live in a house on the same lot, on which they once had hoped to build a new home – that didn’t work out, but the idea of finding a great old home and moving it did. Here he is, in a pullover with the contractor’s logo:
3:15 AM: Heading back to the site after a quick break, since the house should be rolling down the route to its new home shortly. Night owls can watch our Twitter feed for photos along the way, till the next update here. (added later) Here’s video of the house making the turn onto westbound Charlestown from northbound California:
5:15 AM: The house is just yards from its new home. The actual on-the-streets move has taken two full hours, with delicate maneuvering around signs, hydrants, trees.
Owner Jacques says getting it onto the lot will be tricky too.
5:41 AM: They are getting ready to slide it onto the new site.
7:09 AM: Just got back to HQ. As of 6:25 am, the moving operation is over; the house’s owners, Jacques and Beth, popped a bottle of champagne (and were giving another one to Alex Schenkar, their contractor, who hollered up at the end of the move, “We’re within an eighth of an inch – is that good enough?”).
(That’s part of the house behind him, by the way, formerly over the front door, removed for the move, but to be put back into place.) The last few inches were heart-stoppers, as the house, still jacked up on a wheeled trailer, was pushed onto a platform elevated over the hole that will be turned into its foundation over the next few weeks before work on the house itself resumes. The Seattle Times (WSB partner) was the only other media organization covering it from start to finish, though a few others parachuted in and out, so keep an eye out for the Times story and video too. Meantime, we’ll be adding a few more visuals – photos and video – to this narrative over the next hour or so.