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This Lexington, KY barn was moved a half mile across fields using four self-propelled dollies and two regular dollies. The measurements were 155” long x 52” wide x 46” tall and weighed 120 tons.
It is virtually impossible for a nonprofessional to jack up his or her house. For most home renovators out there, this is like preaching to the choir: they have no desire to lift a house.
The beautiful historic Standard Brewing Company brewery tower (now Genesee Brewery) built in 1889 and located in Rochester, NY. It is one of the oldest brewery towers in all of North America and this building is on the verge of being destroyed because of selfish corporate interests and a short sided government who doesn’t want to honor the community’s wishes.
Why do we want to destroy things that can never be replaced?
A few years ago, Nelson County discovered it had a gem nestled in the courthouse complex.
The small, single-story, white building serving as the Sheriff’s Office had been certified as an authentic Thomas Jefferson design, a discovery that saved the building from relocation or demolition.
As the courthouse project is under way, the old building is scheduled for a face lift, including a new roof and sheetrock walls. However, before the most visible part of Jefferson’s design is covered up, the Board of Supervisors and the Nelson County Historical Society are paying $2,400 for the building to be documented, preserving the building for future generations.
“This is one of the most historic buildings in the county,” said Allen Hale, the East District representative, and the board member who introduced the issue at the December meeting.
He said its historic importance merits its preservation.
Gardiner Hallock began photographing the jail on Dec. 15. Hallock is one of the principles of Arcadia Preservation, a Keswick-based company hired to document the jail.
Hallock will create a floor plan of what the jail looked like when it was built in 1820s. To do this, he is performing a forensic search of the building to determine what was added since the initial construction. He is able to find where walls were, what the windows might have looked like and the width of doorways.
He took photographs of the exterior and interior walls of the jail, which he runs through a computer in a process called photogrametry, or rectified photos.
“This is what we believe is one of the last buildings Jefferson designed and shows Jefferson’s wide interest in architecture,” Hallock said. “The jail is a nice contrast to the elegance and grandeur of Monticello and other courthouses he has designed.”
The jail was commissioned and designed in 1823; Jefferson died in 1826.
The jail tells a story outside of the wide range of Jefferson’s architectural designs. It shows the modifications made to jails as part of the prison reform occurring in the 1800s.
“This building is a link in the jail reform,” Hallock said.
Evidence of the connection between jail reform and the new jail is evident in several of the letters from Jefferson, Joseph Cabell and Arthur Brockenbrough. The letters, along with a sketch, cost estimates and detailed instructions from Jefferson are stored at the University of Virginia’s library in Charlottesville and the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston.
Cabell references a new act concerning jails as the reason for asking for Jefferson’s assistance with the design. In a later letter, Cabell mentions policies concerning jail reform that had not yet been passed by the legislature, including separate quarters for males and females.
The sketch of the jail Jefferson made shows six square cells with different groups such as “white female criminals,” “male blacks,” “white male debtors” and “white female debtors” written in each quarter. A small room is noted as a solitary cell, which Jefferson writes in an accompanying document is “to put ill-behaved prisoners into occasionally, as a punishment.”
The sketch aided Bob Self, an architectural conservationist at Monticello, in determining the Nelson County building was a Jefferson design. The structure is within inches of the size and dimensions of the 44-by-52 feet design made in 1823. The layout of the building mirrors the layout of the drawing.
Jefferson provided detailed instructions to accompany the sketch on how to clean the “necessaries” — a box with a tight lid used as a bathroom — so the odor was not bad. It discussed how to best secure the floor of the criminal compartments.
He writes that two or three feet long stone blocks should be stood side-by-side on their side, the spaces then filled with gravel and the top covered with mortar. They should then be covered with sheet iron and riveted together. However, Self said, they were unsure if the plans were actually carried out by the county.
“Here you’ve got these little small town criminals in Nelson County being treated like big time criminals,” he said. “It’s really kind of funny.”
Two other jails followed this one over the years. The first jail has served many purposes since its initial design and construction, including as a clerk’s office, a clerk of court office and the sheriff’s office.
It now has a new function. In December, the Board of Supervisors decided to house the voters’ registrar’s office in part of the building.
Although no definite plans for the photos and information gathered have been decided, Steve Carter, the county administrator said they might be part of a display about the courthouse complex in the entrance way of the new courthouse.
When the communicatiohs tower was built at the courthouse, the department of Historical Preservation said it visually impaired Lovingston’s historical district and that had to be mitigated. The county decided to have a display showcasing the complex’s history. A decision is expected on that within six months, Carter said.
Bernard McGinnis, the president of the Nelson County Historical Society, said he supports the decision for a display so students, residents and tourists can learn about the past. He added the courthouse complex, including the Jefferson jail, would be a great starting point for exploring the county and its rich history.
He said he would like to have historical pamphlets people could take with them.
“History is only made one time and if you don’t take advantage to preserve it, like with charts and diagrams, you lose it,” McGinnis said. “You have to do it while people are around that know about it. If you miss it and lose it, you never get it again.”
Steps of transporting an older house to a new location, including likely costs and objections from neighbors.
ROUGHLY 10,000 private homes are moved in the United States annually, according to the International Association of Structural Movers, the trade association for those who haul everything from houses to lighthouses. Now that doesn’t mean that 10,000 people pack up their things and members of the movers’ group help them carry the boxes (though that would be nice). It means that the entire house is put on a truck or barge, then hauled to another site.