Workers began the arduous and exacting task of relocating five houses in Bloomington’s University Courts Historic District recently by uprooting a home built in 1920 from 402 N. Park Ave. and moving it to a new location at the corner of East 8th Street and North Fess Avenue.

Indiana University officials originally intended to demolish six houses in an overall plan to acquire the strategically located Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, sandwiched between Swain Hall West on East 3rd Street and the Mauer School of Law on Indiana Avenue. In the land swap, IU agreed to create space for a new Phi Gamma Delta, or “Fiji,” house at the corner of East 8th Street and North Woodlawn Avenue.

After a public outcry over the proposed demolition of homes in the historic neighborhood just north of the core campus, IU embarked on a $1 million project to move five homes within the neighborhood and demolish one. The first house to be moved was a Georgian Revival style structure built of limestone and brick and designed by architect Alfred Grindle.

Contractors Weddle Brothers Construction hired Wolfe House & Building Movers after disconnecting utilities, digging out the foundation and raising the vacant house on hydraulic jacks. Steel and plastic plates were placed over the brick pavers on East 8th Street and radio-controlled power dollies moved the 154-ton structure to its new home. Three houses on East 8th Street and one on North Park Avenue will be moved in a similar fashion over the coming weeks.

Videos by Darryl Smith

Take a look at Darryl Smith’s video of the 402 N. Park Ave. house moving down East 8th Street!

Check out this video for a closer look at how much work goes into moving a 154-ton house!