Moving a Home
The moving of Hamilton Grange National Memorial on June 7, 2008 was the first major historic structure relocation the National Park Service had done since the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved in 1999. The entire process took 38 days — from the time the house was separated from its foundation to when it arrived at the new site just around the corner in St. Nicholas Park in upper Manhattan. The move was the first step in a full-scale restoration of the only home Alexander Hamilton ever owned.
The MoversWolfe House & Building Movers of Pennsylvania were selected to move the Grange, because their technique enabled them to relocate the 200-year old house without having to cut it into two pieces in order to get it past part of a neighboring structure. During the moving process, curious on-lookers often asked if the movers were Amish or Mennonites since they wore the flat straw hats, plain clothes and facial hair most Americans associate with those groups. However, the Wolfe movers are neither; they belong to a related sect known as the German Baptist Brethren
Going UpThis project presented a unique set of challenges, as the Grange was sandwiched between St. Luke’s Church Episcopal Church and an apartment building. A stone loggia (porch) on the church jutted out in front of the Grange, requiring Wolfe House & Building Movers to lift the house 38 feet vertically in order to roll it out over the loggia and out to the street.
To accomplish this feat, the movers employed a system of linked hydraulic jacks to maintain a level and uniform “lift,” in order to reduce stress on the Grange to a minimum. After each lift, the movers installed towers of “cribbing,” layering wooden supports and steel I-beams, and then moving the jacks into position for the next lift, until the house was raised nearly four stories above the ground. The process took approximately 20 days.