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Historical Hingham home to be moved Wednesday

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  July 9, 2013 03:35 PM

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Several roads will be closed in Hingham on Wednesday as crews move a historic home on Fort Hill Street 1.5 miles to a new location.

Plans have been drawn up and volunteers are at the ready to shuttle the 14 by 25 foot building from 99 Fort Hill St. to 21 Lincoln St., a process that will save the 17th century munitions depot from imminent demolition.

The move will be a cumbersome one, said Andrea Young, Hingham’s preservation administrator.

“It has to move pretty slowly,” she said. “As I understand it, there will be a crew that’s going ahead to lift up or remove any cables or wires. Then as soon as the truck passes by, or the flatbed, then the crew behind will then reconnect everything. So it just moves very slowly.”

The 19-foot-tall building was put on a flatbed trailer on Tuesday. By 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, line crews will start to survey the route to see what needs to happen to get the house to pass underneath.

“The preparation has been very extensive to get this thing ready to move,” Young said.

Neighbors have already been notified of the move, which will occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Access to the roads and private driveways will be limited along the route, but the house will not be stopped at any one location for an extended period of time.

Detour routes and a police detail will also be present during the move.

According to a release, on-street parking will not be permitted on affected streets. Residents along the route may also lose cable TV and power temporarily as wires are disconnected.

A map of the route shows that the house will travel up Fort Hill Street before taking a left turn onto West Street. The house will veer right onto North Street for the biggest stretch of travel and finally turn left onto Lincoln Street.

“I don’t know how far in advance they will close the roads. But I do know while the house is moving on the road, whatever road its on they will have close, “Young said. “… If you’re a commuter or trying to get through West Hingham, anticipate the possibility of a delay.”

The process will bring one of Hingham’s oldest buildings from the private property to the location of the Old Ordinary Museum.

Built in 1685 by Captain Thomas Lincoln, the structure stood within the fort on the summit of Fort Hill, and was used as a provision building.

“The fort was constructed to protect the settlers of the Fort Hill plain from Indian attack and may be the only surviving structure of its kind in the United States," wrote Hingham historian and archaeologist John P. Richardson, who lived in the house from 1965 until his death in 2011.

The building’s history is extensive, and includes the transformation of the building into a home in 1730, and the transfer of the land to numerous Hingham owners, including the Hersey family.

Although there have been later additions to the Old Fort House, only the original portion of the house will be relocated to the Old Ordinary, a release said.

While the moving ordeal will bring the historic structure to Lincoln Street on Wednesday, it will still be some time before the building is situated on the site and open to the public.

The funding to set the building up needs to be raised, and existing foundations on the site of the Lincoln Street property need to be analyzed before they are dug up.

Though the existing granite foundation of the fort will be brought with the house, it will be some time before that is also set up.

“Eventually, there will probably be a committee of people who will work on determining how to show it to its best advantage [with] the museum,” Young said. “That’s the whole purpose, make it an architectural display of firs period architecture and building techniques. Its unusual we have such a wonderful building for that purpose.”

For more history on the building, click here.

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