The House Is Free—If You Can Manage Moving Day

Moving day logistics: evaluating the costs, strategies and transportation of the historic Randolph-Lucas House


“The minimum height of our traffic signals is 17 feet—measured from the bottom of the traffic signal head to the top of the roadway surface,” explained Valerie Bell-Smith, Senior Public Relations Manager for the City of Atlanta Department of Public Works.

The Randolph-Lucas House stands two stories tall in addition to a finished attic—with chimneys that could reach 55 to 60 feet tall, Landers estimated.

“It’s possible that the second story, roof and chimneys would need to be removed for transport but if the house will be relocated within a few miles, this step should not be necessary,” said Landers. “I would prefer to move it all in one big piece to preserve all the historical values of the building materials.”

He further explained that Georgia Power would temporarily clip high-tension wires and divert power in the area because the moving house is not grounded. This would enable safer transport of the building with minimal disruption to the neighborhood.

Routing: The long road home

Supply chain management (SCM) teaches that suitable routing is key to delivery. McDonough recalled driving across the Memphis metropolitan area to find the ideal path for the cabins’ journey to the museum. She piloted many possible paths while Don Toothman, who managed the Davies Manor house-moving project through Toothman Structure Movers, took notes from the passenger seat.

While constructed railroad tracks aided the Randolph-Lucas House’s move in 1998 to its destination, such an option no longer exists as its future move entails road routes. In fact, house-moving equipment must be customized to the project.

A custom rig—which moves like a tricycle in the event that a house is moved—must be designed from hydraulic dollies and steel supports. Additionally, a four-corner support, such as those used by cars, requires a suspension system that would warp the frame of a house.

As such, a residential delivery proves very visible during transit, as was the case with the cabin moves to Davies Manor Plantation. Police escorted the buildings during the three-hour transfer from the center of the city to the suburb, according to McDonough, who watched the scenario unfold from the side of the road.

Logistics update

On October 23, 2012, the Randolph-Lucas House received a 120-day reprieve with the possibility of an extension for a move scheduled to occur after the deadline. Parties interested in the Randolph-Lucas House should promptly contact Buckhead Heritage Society, the organization spearheading the Randolph-Lucas preservation movement.

For a visual of such a historic residential transport, watch this time-lapse video of a Victorian mansion in motion on the campus of Brown University: http://youtu.be/InCaHzbuT7Q.

Marly Hazen McQuillen is Webmaster for Memphis-based CTSI-Global, which provides freight audit and payment, TMS and logistics services. She manages CTSI-Global’s Website, social media and supply chain blog and additionally, is a Master’s student in History at the University of Memphis.

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