Monday, July 19, 2010

Historical Buildings Ready for Move

The Conroe Courier reports on the movement of four historically-significant structures from the woods to a "place of public prominence":

After months of planning and preparation, the first of the vintage buildings that will be showcased in Montgomery’s new Fernland Historical Park is scheduled to be transported to the facility this week.  Montgomery officials approved $430,000 in expenditures – including $140,000 for moving the structures – over the next two years to create the historical park featuring early Texas buildings to be an educational resource and to encourage tourism.

Four of the five buildings come from Fernland, a  40-acre parcel of land donated to Sam Houston State University by Carroll and Mae Tharp. Dating back to the 1820s, the structures feature early Texas architecture and artifacts. The most famous structure on the site, Bear Bend, a hunting lodge used by the Republic of Texas’ first president, Sam Houston, will ultimately be transported to SHSU.

Moving any large structure more than a dozen miles is difficult, but when the buildings are historically significant structures dating back to the early 19th century, the challenge is even greater.

“Prepping the buildings involves reinforcing the structures from the inside so they can make the trip,” said Artie Morin, a workman with Cherry House Moving, which is preparing the structures for transport. “We’ve also had to clear a path through the woods so we can get the buildings out.”

Christiana Huffman, project coordinator for Cherry House Moving, said chimneys and steps have been removed from the buildings and will be reassembled when the structures arrive at their ultimate destination, more than a dozen miles away in Montgomery. Some of the buildings will have to be cut in two so they can be moved.

While a specific schedule for moving the buildings has not been finalized, Huffman said the company is coordinating with local law enforcement and utility companies related to the move.

“Power and phone lines are going to have to be raised,” she said. “We’re going to try to do the move at night to minimize disruption to the public on local roads.”

The buildings will be transported from their Honea-Egypt Road location to the park location, adjacent to the Charles B. Stewart Library in Montgomery, via FM 2854 and Texas 105.

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