Moving Day! The House that was Sawn in Half and Shipped across the Bay

By

9th Apr, 2013

Sawn in half with a chainsaw, wheeled down the streets of San Francisco, stuck on a barge at Marina Green and moved across the bay to Belvedere– it’s safe to say it was no ordinary moving day for the Knowles-Moffitt Mansion on July 3rd, 1962.

Sawn in half, the Victorian mansion sits on a barge waiting for high tide to cross the bay.

This is the story of a historic house, saved from demolition by a local architect using some rather drastic measures. The Knowles-Moffitt Mansion, built in 1818 by architect William Knowles for Dr. Herbert C. Moffitt, renowned physician and dean of of the University College of San Francisco, was sentenced to the scrapyard in 1962, in favor of a a new apartment building to be erected in its place. Local architect and passionate preservationist, Norman Gilroy wasn’t going to let that happen.

He bought the 15-room home at 1888 Broadway and began hatching a plan that had never been tried or seen before. Nearly six decades after it was built, the 6,000 square foot Moffitt mansion was sawn in half with a chainsaw as neighbours looked on. Then with the help of utility companies and city officials that Mr. Gilroy had convinced to help him, the street’s overhead wires were moved to clear a path, and in what must have been an extraordinary site, the two halves were wheeled down the hill to the marina.

In a fast-developing area of San Francisco, Norman Gilroy succeeded in showing the city that preserving its old buildings was feasible by moving them. Once the house arrived across the bay to number 8 West Shore road in Belvedere, the ambitious architect used the original house plans and detail drawings to put the historic home back together and restore it to its turn-of-the-century glory. In 2009, it went on sale for $5.5 million.

And just in case you were curious, this is what replaced the Moffit mansion at 1888 Broadway…

Looks like it was Broadway’s loss…

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 via Curbed

:::

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 

.

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in Don't Be A TouristLost & FoundNostalgiaOff-Beat & Little KnownTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

SONY DSC

10 of the Most Fantastical Burning Man Creations

This week, an otherworldly gathering in the desert is taking place in the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada. A celebration of life, earth and all the incredible things we're capable of building and...

Trending 5,329
johnies

Hollywood Ghost Diner

I've been on the lookout for a truly authentic 1950s diner since I arrived in California. I finally found it, driving down Wilshire Boulevard and screeching to a halt as soon as I locked eyes o...

Trending 6,215
featureclub

My LA Boogie Nights Bar

After 24 hours in the city of Angels, I had yet to find the perfect LA hangout I was looking for. I have this romantic vision of Angelinos hanging out on seventies lawn chairs in their backyards wi...

Trending 3,238
phantomlake

Unmasking the Parisian Phantom of the Opera

What if I told you there is a lake under the Paris Opera House, just like in The Phantom of the Opera? Down, down, down, deep underneath the Garnier Opera in a dingy room with a square-shaped hol...

Trending 16,669
mecaniquefeature

The San Francisco Antique Playground

This might sound odd, but I'm not really a museum buff. I generally find that if something is behind a barrier or kept in a glass box where I can't pick it up or touch it, I won't linger very long i...

Trending 4,289
featurebyron

Trespassing Hotel California

We heard a rumour that there was an abandoned 1930s hot springs resort hotel on the road to San Francisco, that may or may not still be there. Of course I had to go see for myself. We pulled up to t...

Trending 15,027