The Cottage Move

On the same lot as my circa 1855 Gothic Revival is a 540 square foot craftsman cottage that was built about 1905. I think this is the story behind how and when the cottage was built on the lot – Next to my lot a large shingled craftsman apartment house and a beautiful Victorian/Craftsman are located next to my lot on the north side. These two buildings are located around the corner on Division Street (my Gothic Revival once was about where the apartment house is now). These homes were built by Luther Hayman’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Lizzie Hayman in 1905. I have this feeling Luther decided to have a a cottage built at the same time on his lot. At the time the cottage was built the lot line between the two properties was different. (See the Sanborn Maps). It wasn’t until 1917, well after the time the cottage was built, that Lizzie Hayman deeded 16 feet to Luther Hayman which then put the cottage some distance away from the the property line. Also, in 1914 five feet were deeded to Eva Hayman along the driveway. (See the deeds). At this point one can understand the location of the cottage some 18 feet from the side fence. I’m not sure why it was so far forward toward the main house. Perhaps to have room in the back for access to the barn carriage doors. The current garage area was added later to the barn so access to the backyard was much different and accessible back then. Also, the main house had an addition on the back half on the far side of the house, most likely it was the kitchen.

The foundation on the cottage was poorly built for today’s standards. It was right on top of the soil and made of most likely river sand, rock and lime. Probably no cement was used. It just crumbed so easily and the Napa 2014 earthquake compromised it even further. It was time to move it back to the corner of the lot to a better location on the property and give it a new foundation. Enter Phil Joy House Movers and his amazing crew! In less than two days they lifted the house on one day and moved it over and back the second. The process was amazing! These guys work together in such an incredible way – trusting; in sync; signaling to each other by whistling and tapping the steel beams; and knowing what to do instinctively next to make it all happen. The results are fantastic! The backyard has now opened up completely and all is in place. The crumbing old foundation will be removed and plans for the space will be developed. Some interesting discoveries were made under the house. The remains of the construction of the cottage were still there from the day they built it in 1905. Wood scraps, wood shavings, bead board scraps and flooring; twine used to tie up bundles of wood and even a three foot long piece of original unused exterior window casing. The termites had not gotten into any of the bits and pieces. It is also strange that no one, after 111 years, had ever cleaned it up! The previous owner told me that he was told the cottage was moved there but now we know for sure it was built right there in the yard just 2 feet from the property line. There was even buried about six inches under the soil a narrow concrete walkway that went all the way around the cottage. Now this adorable cottage has been given room to shine and breath as it so deserves. To see the process through photos, videos and time lapse videos click here.


One thought on “The Cottage Move

  1. Wow, your backyard space has really opened up. Watching the move in time-lapse was really fascinating. I’ve never seen that done before. His crews are really efficient.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s