HOUSEBOATS

It's hard to believe in this "throw-away-world" of ours that there was a time when most everything had value.  I remember my elders saving nails and screws and bolts from old buildings and machinery for instance.  I remember watching men cleaning old bricks when a building was torn down.  Today,  everything's demolished and carted off to a landfill.  That wasn't the way it was when these photos were taken....

It's also hard to believe, given the technology and machinery of the day that during the 30s,  right through the 50s,  houses were picked up and then moved by riverboats all over the area.  These were in many cases huge brick homes and businesses that needed to get out of the way of progress.  Houses were moved from the Boulevard side of Charleston to the South Side for the Boulevard expansion.  Houses were moved from the South Side to the West Side and beyond for the South Side Expressway.  Buildings were moved from Nitro to where the University of Charleston sits today for their expansion.  Houses were going up and down the river no different than a truck hauling produce to market.  An amazing feat,  and during a time when it was as cheap or cheaper to move a house than to tear it down and rebuild it.   People wonder why everything costs so much these days.  It's simply because we're willing to pay more for something that we really don't need.  On top at that,  there are so many government regulations in place today concerning rivers and riverbanks,  that I doubt you could do what these men did back in the day.  I will not narrate most of these photos, as I've already explained their moving due mostly to highway expansion.  Most of these homes are being lived in today,  far from where they first started.  The two most famous housemovers were Virgil Fike and Walter Clark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the Capitol began construction circa 1924, there were a number of first-class houses in the East End and it was presumed they would be demolished.  A house mover -- John Eichleay Jr. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. -- took on the seemingly impossible job to move them. It was a great success and these photos shows the method of cleverly maneuvering the houses. The scaffolding: Huge timber supports perched on several barges took some of the rescued mansions down the Kanawha as far as Nitro

 

 

 




Houseboats

 

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