A man watches from a balcony as a truck pulls a Victorian home through San Francisco. (AP/Noah Berger)

A man watches from a balcony as a truck pulls a Victorian home through San Francisco. (AP/Noah Berger)

The house was built in 1882. It was moved to a new location about six blocks away to make room for apartments. (AP/Noah Berger)

The house was built in 1882. It was moved to a new location about six blocks away to make room for apartments. (AP/Noah Berger)

Workers had to move street lights, parking meters, and utility lines. (AP/Noah Berger)

Workers had to move street lights, parking meters, and utility lines. (AP/Noah Berger)

A worker signals to a truck driver pulling the house. (AP/Noah Berger)

A worker signals to a truck driver pulling the house. (AP/Noah Berger)

Rolling Home

Posted: May 1, 2021

Make way! A house is rolling down the street—down a one way street in the wrong direction.

This two-story, green Victorian house spent 139 years in the same spot: 807 Franklin Street in San Francisco, California. Of course it has. Because houses don’t usually move! But now the house is relocating, far enough away to need a new address.

Workers load the house onto giant dollies. Onlookers line the sidewalks to snap photos as the structure rolls by. It doesn’t move fast. It travels one mile per hour at top speed. In the end, the house squeezed past six blocks to 635 Fulton St.

You don’t move a house like this without a good plan. People have been plotting this journey for years. Veteran house mover Phil Joy told the San Francisco Chronicle he had to get permission from more than 15 city agencies.

Mr. Joy says this move was tricky partly because the house had to go downhill. (San Francisco is famously hilly.) “That’s always difficult for a house,” he says.

Along the route, parking meters were ripped up. Tree limbs were trimmed. The usual traffic signs were relocated. New signs warned: DON’T PARK HERE! People obeyed those signs. They didn’t want their cars wiped out by a rolling, 80-foot house!

A truck follows the house. Another drives in front of it. The move happens early in the morning so it will disturb as few people as possible.

People will construct an apartment building on the site where the house once rested. Why save the big house? It’s old. It’s historic. The wood inside comes from 800-year-old trees.

It’s a nice save . . . but it isn’t cheap. The owner of the six-bedroom house, Tim Brown, will pay about $400,000 for the move.