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