How Do You Move A House?

Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Historic Farmhouse Being Preserved, Moved to Maine

Historic O'Kane Farm house

The historic house at the O’Kane Farm is being carefully dismantled, packed up, and moved to its new home near Portland, Maine, where a private buyer is rebuilding it – a process that is being chronicled on a blog by Preservation Timber Framing.

Built in 1790, the farmhouse was used by the UNH Child Study and Development Center for classes and staff meetings until 2003. But as the cost of restoration and maintenance grew too high, UNH located a buyer who is working with Arron Sturgis ’83, owner of Preservation Timber Framing, Inc., to have the remarkable building take apart and moved.

The project meshes well with the CSDC’s long-term plans to build a new and expanded facility that includes the use of the O’Kane site. Renovating the farmhouse to meet the CSDC’s needs would have required altering the building’s architectural character and historical features.

The house’s original trim retains lead paint, and many decades of lead chips saturate the surrounding soil. As part of the preservation process, the construction company is working under strict environmental and safety regulations and UNH supervision to ensure that any internal asbestos and lead contamination is abated with no impact on the CSDC or surrounding community. During the coming months, passersby are likely to see parts of the building encased in plastic and professionals wearing special protective suits as they go through the abatement process.

Preliminary work included soil testing around the preservation site and the CSDC facility. As expected, there was no evidence of lead contamination at CSDC, while at the O’Kane site this was primarily limited to the immediate drip line from external sills. Work will be halted when wind or other weather conditions could cause dust to move off the site, according to project officials.

The preservation company will be responsible for the removal and replacement of soil around the O’Kane site, meeting strict guidelines for soil testing at the end of the process, and leaving the site in a safe condition ready for later construction of a new CSDC facility.


Originally published by:

Child Study and Developement Center

Photo by by John Butler.