10/14/08 For Immediate Release from E. Anne Susen, Bainbridge Island, WA
3500 square foot home moved via barge and truck from Rockaway Beach to Eagle Harbor, both on Bainbridge Island, WA.
Bainbridge Island, WA. In this quiet community of roughly 23,000 people on an island the size of Manhattan only a 35 minute ferry ride from Seattle, a 3500 square foot house was removed from its home on Rockaway Beach and transported via barge to its new footing on Eagle Harbor. The entire operation was filmed from land, sea and sky by a London based film crew for the National Geographic television series “Mega Moves”.
A feat of engineering and nature, the house was loaded onto the barge at approximately 3:00 AM catching the high tide in Puget Sound at 5:21 AM. The barge, along with its small flotilla of cameramen, engineers, and interested parties, bobbed in Puget Sound for nearly 8 hours awaiting the next incoming tide to bring the house on barge into Eagle Harbor. Within minutes the pale blue craftsman style house, outlined with lights for visibility, and powered by a neat navy and yellow tug boat powered past the ferry yard and into Eagle Harbor at fast clip. By 2:30 the house/barge was again awaiting the moon’s pull on tide to bring it level to the landing at the north end of the harbor. On this gray, cool October afternoon, information passed among gathering crowd of 100 people on land and a smattering of kayaks, rowboats and sailboats on the water.
The house and lot on Rockaway Beach, with its glorious view of Seattle, was sold last year but the new owners were anxious to build a bigger and more modern house on the site. Instead of tearing the house down they sold it to buyer for a minimal amount of money with the stipulation that he must move the house off the property and the plan was set in motion. Within the past month a steeply sloping lot with an equally glorious view of Eagle Harbor was cleared of its mobile home and a deep walled trench was dug into the side of the hill.
By 3:30 the house/barge was on the move and a crew with rocker like steel sleds were preparing for its arrival. As the barge pulled level with the landing the sleds were secured and railroad ties were laid down filling the gap between sleds and roadway. Slowly the house on its great nest of steel girders, flatbed and countless tires began pushing slowly off the barge and onto the sleds by a mighty diesel truck giving everything it had. Twice progress stopped as the sleds and ties were adjusted to catch the less than agile load. By 4:30 traffic was halted in each direction as the house was moved across Eagle Harbor Drive and up the hill to its new home. Before it, two enormous shovels were adjusting the earth and placing more railroad ties to accommodate the many wheels moving the load. By 5:00 the house was up into the lot where it would be angled so that the new foundation can be poured under the structure.