Although The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation do not approve of the relocation of buildings, relocation is sometimes necessary in order to save a building from demolition. Some of the projects on this page are proof that relocation is a more viable alternative to demolition.
The J. T. Hill House 1888-1889
Harrison County, Texas
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photographs.
Construction of the J. T. Hill House was begun in the fall of 1888 and it was
completed in the spring of 1889. It was built as a vernacular
1-story, 3 room, central-hall “L” plan house. Mr. John Thomas Hill, a carpenter
for a local architect and builder, was the first owner of the house. He added an
east wing to the house circa 1893-94 to accommodate his growing family. J. T.
Hill is pictured in the above photo with his children in the front yard of the
house on the Old Tyler Road, which later became U. S. Highway 80/West Houston
Street with the advent of the automobile. Notice the bundles of cedar shingles
in the front yard, presumably for the addition of the new east wing to the
house. Mr. Hill’s granddaughter provided the ca. 1893 photo.
When the grade of the new U. S. Highway 80 was raised 4 feet in 1921 because of the low water crossing for the adjacent creek, the house was also raised 4 feet in order for it to remain at street grade. That provided the space for a 7’ above-grade basement that was begun by Mr. Hill, but appeared to have never been completed. Mr. Hill’s signature, dated January 16, 1921, is in pencil on the outside of the west wall of the 1893 addition above the ceiling.
Hill sold the house in 1921 and the next owner lived there until 1952. By 1953, the house had been remodeled for use as a duplex and by the 1970's it had become a carpet store. It was then foreclosed in the 1990’s and was abandoned, dilapidated, condemned, and scheduled for demolition by the City of Marshall in 1995.
June 1995: Condemned
Mr. Plumb acquired the condemned house in 1995. The city wanted Mr. Plumb to demolish the house or move it off the lot. The location of the house was not economically viable for restoration so Plumb began searching for a suitable site for the house and purchased a portion of a former pine plantation in northwestern Harrison County, about eight miles from the its original location in July 1996. The house was vandalized while planning the project and many of the original doors, windows, and moldings were stolen.
RELOCATION OF THE J. T. HILL HOUSE TO WALNUT HILL PLANTATION
HARRISON COUNTY, TEXAS
September 1996 through November 1996: Preparation for The Move
Preparation for the move began in September 1996. The roof and brick foundation had to be dismantled and the house had to be cut down the center to move it. The roof framing materials and the brick were salvaged for re-use in the house.
November 1996: The Move
The house was moved in two sections in two days. The above shots were taken on the route taken to the new site and the new slab at the site.
REHABILITATION OF THE J. T. HILL HOUSE
November 1996 through August 1997: Rehabilitation
The house was placed on the new slab with 2' x 2' x 2' grade beams and raised above the slab 7 feet, the same height above grade at the original site, for construction of the piers and masonry walls. The structure and roof was reassembled, masonry piers and walls constructed, and then lowered to rest on the masonry piers and walls. The house was occupied in August 1997 with all work completed except for the installation of the wall coverings.
THE COMPLETED J. T. HILL HOUSE
The J. T. Hill House is a vernacular, modified "L", central
hall plan, 1-story Country Victorian house with an above-grade basement. It is
located eight miles northwest of Marshall, Texas and the house is nestled among
century-old black walnut and pecan trees on the site of the original plantation
house, which was lost to demolition by neglect. The site is one of the highest points in Harrison County and provides
spectacular views of the countryside.
Plumb rehabilitated the building to its ca. 1900 appearance with the above grade basement as Mr. Hill had intended complete it. The project involved restoring and replicating damaged and missing historic elements, the use of historic elements and materials from salvaged houses contemporary to the Hill House, a period paint color scheme on the exterior, and the use of replication, document, and historically inspired wall coverings on the interior. The rehabilitation also included reconstruction of the masonry chimneys (6 fireplaces) and brick foundation, replacement of roofing materials, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, reconstruction of porches, interior paint, and refinished the unpainted woodwork.
The J. T. Hill House is also appointed with family heirlooms and historically accurate furnishings and accessories from the late-19th and early 20th centuries. The rehabilitation includes colors, finishes, and fabrics that are from the late 19th Century, yet the house comfortably accommodates a family with modern plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. (1996-1998)
The Scheimelphenig-Dudley House Ca. 1900
The Schimelphenig-Dudley House is a 1-˝-story vernacular modified "L" plan, Victorian cottage constructed circa 1900 in Plano, Texas. It is located in The Haggard Park Heritage Resource District and was abandoned, dilapidated, and condemned by the City of Plano. Plumb developed the plans for the rehabilitation of the historic home, designed the historically inspired addition, completed the Certificates of Appropriateness for the project’s compliance within the Heritage District Ordinance, and the construction documents. The original part of the house was rehabilitated to its original appearance. The new addition incorporates a more modern floor plan, the historic appearance of the exterior, and utilizes historically styled elements on the interior for a seamless transition between the historic house and the new addition. The rehabilitation also included the replacement of roofing materials, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, reconstruction of porches, and exterior & interior paint. Construction began in March 2002 and was completed in March 2003. Plumb also performed the construction administration services on the project. (2001-2003; with Norman Alston Architects)
The Friend Home 1900
The C. C. Friend Home was built in 1900 by the C. C. Friend
family on a lot that was a wedding gift in 1889. It is a 1˝-story central hall
plan Queen Anne Victorian with the half-story having been added in 1909. It had
been converted to 4 apartments on the 1st floor in 1936, and the 2nd floor was
abandoned at that time. The house remained in the original owner’s family until 1989 when the
Plumb family purchased it. The family provided exterior photographs that
documented the original configuration of the house and Plumb used Sanborn Fire
Insurance Maps and the physical evidence of subsequent additions and remodels to plan the proper restoration
of the house. Plumb converted the house back to a single family dwelling and
rehabilitated it to its original appearance, both on the exterior and interior. The
project involved restoring and replicating damaged and missing historic
elements, the use of historic elements and materials from salvaged houses
contemporary to the Friend Home, a period paint color scheme on the exterior,
and the use of replication, document, and historically inspired wall coverings
on the interior. The rehabilitation also included the reconstruction of the
porches, replacement of roofing materials,
mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, interior paint, and renewed the
shellac on the original, unpainted interior woodwork. The project won 2nd Place, 1993 Great American
Homes Awards, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and two local
preservation awards. (1989-93)
The Friend Home Tea Shop and Gifts was an adaptive use project on the historic C. C. Friend Home. As the home had been rehabilitated seven years earlier, the adaptive use had little impact on the original appearance of the home. The project included the upgrading of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for commercial use, interior and exterior paint, and accessibility improvements. (1997-98)
The Friend Home Outbuildings
The historic outbuildings of the Friend Home were demolished in the 1960's, but the foundations remained. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and historic photographs provided documentation for the project. Materials used to reconstruct the buildings were taken from demolished and salvaged buildings of the same period. (1995-96)
The Earnest Powell House
The original owner of this house, Earnest Powell, was a blind piano teacher who had this house built for his new bride. She had grown up in an Antebellum house nearby and wanted her new house to resemble her childhood home. They built the house in 1909 and changed the plans during construction to add the indoor bathroom. The house features four original fireplaces and six sets of 9’ folding doors on either side of the central hall, which were later added to accommodate guests and students for piano recitals. The second owner of the house passed away about five years prior to Plumb acquiring the house. It was deteriorating due to the roof leaking and having been vacant for several years.
Shortly after Plumb acquired the house in 1995, the State of Texas announced plans to widen the road on which it was located. The house would have been demolished, but Plumb chose to relocate the house to a peaceful setting on a tract of land south of the city. It was more feasible to relocate the house as the half-story had never been completed. Due to the width and height of the house, the roof was dismantled, the chimneys dismantled, the fireplaces dismantled below the floorjoists, and the house was cut into three pieces. The house was moved, however, with the four fireplaces in tact between the floor joists and ceiling joists. The house is once again a happy home that features a period exterior color scheme that is similar the the original and period inspired wall coverings on the interior. (1995-96)
The Duncan House, 1926
The Duncan House is the most recently built "Texas dog-trot" house that we have ever seen. It was built in 1926 near the community of Lodi in Cass County, Texas and was owned buy the original owner's son, Mr. Joe Duncan. He was one year old when his father built the house to replace the old family home, also a dog trot, that was built when the land was homesteaded in the mid-19th century. The original house was in the way of a new county road that was being built and Mr. Duncan's father demolished the 19th century house to build this one. He built it himself with the help of friends and relatives.
The fact that there was no electricity available meant that cooling and heating was of paramount importance to the Duncan's and they were comfortable and familiar with this style of house. Thus, the dog-trot remained their preferred style for the new house. The cooling was certainly reliable as was the brick fireplace for heating and the wood burning stove for cooking. The 1926 house also featured new wall board in the back bedroom.
Mr. Duncan's father also hand-built the mantel in the living room, the kitchen cabinets in 1940, his shaving table on the back porch. The swing on the front porch was also built by Mr. Duncan's father around 1900. He also built some of the furnishings including a heart pine secretary about 1900 which was yet to be painted or shellacked. Electricity was installed in 1940 along with the enclosure of a portion of the back porch for a new kitchen. The original kitchen then became the dining room. An indoor bathroom with a shower was added in the back bedroom in 1961 and the wood burning cook stove was replaced by a propane cook stove in 1968, but otherwise it remained unchanged at the time it was acquired. It also has the original tin roof and has only been painted once, both on the interior or exterior.
The Duncan family did not want to keep the house and wanted few of the pieces of family furniture and artifacts that remained in and around the house. The remaining furniture and artifacts were apparently unpleasant reminders of difficult lifestyle that the family experienced while farming and during the Great Depression. A local antique dealer purchased the remaining furniture and artifacts and Plumb purchased the house. Plumb relocated it as Mr. Duncan wanted all of it removed from his land in order for him to have more room for his cattle. Plumb later purchased some of the furniture and artifacts to go in the house once it has been rehabilitated for use as a guest house.
The Dog Trot House, ca. 1900
The Dog Trot House is a 1 story dog trot "folk house", typical of many pioneer houses built between 1850 and 1930 throughout rural East Texas and The Old South. Most of these houses have been demolished or "remuddled", but there are still a few around that are basically original. This one was being demolished in 1996 and we did not want to see it destroyed. We bought the salvage, and reassembled it on another site. In 2004 we relocated it to another site when we sold the land on which it was located and the purchaser did not want the house.
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