A 141-year-old Victorian mansion was removed from Franklin Street and relocated six blocks to Fulton Street. "It's incredible to witness this massive seven-bedroom house being relocated," said Wanda Ramos, who lives near the home's original location. "I think it's going to look great on Fulton Street with all its other beautiful houses." The house was built in 1872 for a wealthy merchant named Henry Francis Bartlett.
Its new owner was a coal dealer named Asa Goodrich. He had the house remodeled in the popular Stick Style found throughout Pittsburgh. The work included replacing much of the wood inside the house with concrete to make it more energy efficient. Concrete also allowed the architects to add larger windows, which let in more light than traditional wooden houses.
Goodrich sold the house in 1880 to John H. Bronson, who in turn sold it two years later to Charles L. Denny. In 1896, Denny added the third floor and made other minor changes to the house. He also replaced the roof, installed electric lights, and opened the basement as a garage for his carriages.
In 1919, the house was acquired by the Carnegie Institute who used it as offices until 1960 when it became a community center called The House of Friendship. It still serves this purpose today.
In the suburbs of big cities, it is common to destroy an old home on a wide plot of land and replace it with a short row of townhouses constructed "end on" to the street for extra seclusion. Olsen, Kirsten, for example, describes an 18th-century town home in England. Everyday Life in 18th-Century England, 1714-1789: A Sourcebook on People, Places, and Things (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). This form of development is also known as "terrace housing".
These townhouses are different from ordinary houses in several ways. For one thing, they usually have only three stories instead of four. Also, they tend to be much shorter than traditional houses--usually no more than five or six rooms instead of eight or nine. And finally, they are placed end on to the street, so that there's a small private yard behind each unit that often can't be used for parking.
The townhouse form originated in Europe as a way for wealthy individuals to add luxury to their homes without completely changing the look of their neighborhoods. It was found particularly useful after the 1660s, when building codes were changed to require separate entrances for each floor of a house. Before then, people would enter their properties through a single door on the ground floor or even the first floor!
On February 21, 2021, a guy watches from a balcony as a truck takes a Victorian mansion through San Francisco. The home, which was erected in 1882, was relocated roughly six blocks away to make place for a condominium building. Noah Berger/Associated Press
The new development will include a museum that will display some of the mansion's original features. The house will be re-sited on the corner of Franklin and Taylor streets in what is now called the Presidio Trust Historic District. This is a national historic district that has been declared "outstanding" by the National Park Service.
The move was made possible by the preservation of many old buildings in San Francisco when many others were being demolished. The city's famous cable cars are an example of this type of architecture. The Victorian mansion was saved because it was moved to a location where it can still be used as a home.
It was built by a wealthy merchant named James Lick. He had it designed by his friend, the famous architect George Washington Smith. The house has 24 rooms!
Lick died before he could move into his new home. His wife lived there for a few years but then she too died.
In 2014, a 96-year-old Toronto homeowner was selling her two-story home in the Bloor West Village district of West Toronto. The house didn't appear to be anything out of the norm from the outside, and even her neighbors were unaware of the surprise she'd been holding within. The woman had lived in the house since she was nine years old - she went to school at St. George's School for Girls and then to university before finding work as a medical laboratory technician.
She saved her money and bought the house after working out a deal with its previous owner. The woman's father had also once owned the house but he gave it up when he became sick. He died a few months later, which allowed the woman to buy it back from the estate for less than what she paid for it.
The woman never married or had children. Her parents moved away from the area when she was young so she didn't have anyone else close by who might want to live in the house. She enjoyed cooking for her family and friends, and going on vacations with them. However, due to health issues, she no longer was able to travel so she decided to move into a care facility instead.
The woman died a few months after moving into the retirement home. Although they knew she wasn't married or having children, nobody expected her to leave such a large inheritance. The total value of her estate was $4 million!