The Keeper's House Move 1998

Two years after the tower move, the keeper's house was also moved to be once again at the tower's side. In autumn 1998, visitors to our site were kept updated as the house was lifted and carried across Nauset Light Road. Following is the archive:

First the long wait:

Keeper's House to be Moved.
October, 1997

Mary Daubenspeck, owner of the keeper's house, has been meeting with Cape Cod National Seashore officials and agreed in principal to the move of her house.

Everyone is delighted at the prospect of the three historic structures, Nauset Light, the oil house, and the keeper's house, being together again on the new site.

Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

Keeper's House On The Move
April 1998

At last, the contract to move the keeper's house has been issued. "The preparation for and accomplishment of the move will likely occur in May and June," said Larry Davis of the Army Corps of Engineers. And, not a moment too soon - there is only twenty-seven feet remaining between the house and the edge of the bluff.

The owner of the house, Mary Daubenspeck, has donated the keeper's house and the existing site to the National Park Service, retaining the right to use and occupy the structure for twenty-five years.

The house will be sited the same distance from and in the same orientation relative to the lighthouse as at the former site. Nauset Light will continue to be a private aid-to-navigation maintained by the Nauset Light Preservation Society on behalf of the National Seashore.

New Contractor for Keeper's House
August 1998

The contract for moving the keeper's house, awarded last spring, was canceled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The contractor was unable to obtain the necessary bonding.

A second round of bidding occurred, and Sylvester Building Movers of Falmouth, one of three bidders, was awarded the contract.

The timetable is not yet in place, but it now appears that the move will take place in October.

We will keep you posted.

Better Late Than Never!
September 1998

At last, the paperwork is in place, and we expect the contractor to begin work on the keeper's house on September 21, 1998. It appears that the physical move will take place the end of October or early November. We will post updates as events evolve.

Then finally the actual move:

Day 1 - It Has Begun
October 14th, 1998

At last, the move of the keeper's house is underway! With less than 23 feet from the foundation to the edge of the cliff, work began yesterday with the staking out and clearing of the new site. Today, shrubbery around the house was removed. Things will be happening quickly, so keep checking in for further developments.

Day 2 - Garage Removed
October 15th, 1998

Progress is being made! The non-historic attached garage (circa 1960s) was removed, and the working area between the house and the road re-graded. On the new site, excavation for the foundation was started. We'll keep you posted.

Day 7 - Foundation Work
October 20th, 1998

Work is progressing quickly. Excavation for the foundation is complete on the new site, and it is ready for installation of the footings. On the old site, holes are being drilled in the foundation under the house in preparation for insertion of the supporting steel. We hope the good weather holds!

Day 10 - Jack it Up
October 23th, 1998

Yesterday, the steel beams were placed under the house in preparation for raising it from its foundation. Today, the house was cribbed and jacked up about two and a half feet, allowing for removal of the foundation. Also, the footings were poured on the new site. Final preparations will be completed on Monday with installation of the dollies, and the physical move is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27.

Day 13 - Ready to Roll
October 26th, 1998

Today, the jacking and cribbing process was reversed, and the keeper's house was lowered onto the dollies. By day's end, the cab of a truck will be attached, and final preparations made. Tomorrow morning, Tuesday, October 27, the house will be driven across the road to the new site.

Day 14 - Why Did the Keeper's House Cross the Road?
October 27th, 1998

The move of the keeper's house began today at 9:30 a.m. The house was moved slowly, but smoothly, and by 3:30 p.m., it was about three quarters of the way to its new home. Final preparatory work was completed at the new site, and the move will be resumed tomorrow morning. We're almost there!

Day 15 - Together Again!
October 28th, 1998

Safe at last! The keeper's house has completed its journey and is now safely over the new footings. Gary Sylvester's Building Movers & Excavators of East Falmouth, MA, slowly and carefully guided the structure down, up, and down the slopes, and squeezed the house between the trees and the oil house, without any major problems. Gary and his crew did a fine job. The house has been cribbed up again, and the dollies removed. The next step is the installation of a new concrete foundation.

Day 17 - The Ups and Downs
October 30th, 1998

The project continues to progress nicely. The foundation for the keeper's house was removed from the former site. The area has been filled, graded, and hydroseeded. On the new site, the keeper's house was cribbed up about ten feet and forms for the foundation were installed under the house yesterday. The concrete was poured today.

Day 20 - Only Two Inches to Go.
November 2nd, 1998

Today, the forms were removed and creosote applied to the exterior of the foundation. The house is still supported on cribbing, but it was lowered to an inch or two above the foundation. It will remain there for several days to allow for further curing of the concrete before it is again lowered to its final resting place.

Day 27 - The Keeper's House Has Landed.
November 9th, 1998

On November 9, the keeper's house was lowered onto its foundation. The cribbing and steel were removed, and the house is now safely in its new location. The site is being backfilled and graded, and the final phase of work on the foundation has been started. It is wonderful to see the tower and keeper's house reunited once again.

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move photos © 1998 Shirley Sabin