Front Page

How Do You Move a 387-Ton Historic Stone Building?

Former Odette’s Restaurant in New Hope

How exactly are developers going to move the historic Odette’s Restaurant building at 274 River Road in New Hope?

Wolfe House & Building Movers of Bernville was kind enough to share some of the tricks of the trade they will be using to relocate the circa-1784 tavern to the American Legion property at the corner of Riverwoods Drive and South Main Street.

Developer Gateway to New Hope LLC is moving the historic stone structure to make way for its planned Riverhouse at Odette’s conference center.

Actually, the biggest question for many local residents is “when?”

Gateway wasn’t chatty on the subject, saying only that it would be “moving this summer.”

In business since the 1960s, family-owned Wolfe is the biggest operation of its kind in America, and now manufactures house moving equipment used throughout the industry.

Odette’s back in the day

Sales Manager Mike Brovont says that stone buildings like Odette’s are the most time-consuming type of structure to move.

“We had to shim between the beam and stone wall with wooden shims and mortar grout to create a solid bearing surface to lift on.”

Hydraulic dollies being used in prior project

The building was then lifted up, and steel girders placed beneath.

So, how will the structure be moved? With an oversized house moving truck?

No. Odette’s will be relocated using 15 remote-controlled hydraulic dollies!

The dollies connect to the steel structure beneath, and become a sort of self-propelled trailer, steered by remote control. Take a peek at the video below to see how the process looks.

Brovont says the work is demanding, but rewarding.

“The part of the job I like most is being involved in the preservation of historic buildings,” he said.

We’ll keep you posted as moving day nears so you can see it all for yourself and grab a video shot for your friends and posterity. Should be quite a show!

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein

Leave a Comment