Historic houses successfully moved to Dallas Road

They were in place shortly before 10 on Wednesday morning and fit right into their new neighbourhood.

It was the finale for a moving project that saw Nickel Brothers take the houses from James Bay and barge them to two adjacent water-facing lots near the breakwater at Ogden Point.

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More than 100 people turned out to stand in a cold wind and watch the delicate procedure. Many took photographs.

The houses, both of which are on the City of Victoria’s heritage registry, had been located on a property being developed on Michigan Street and were put on wheels Monday in preparation for the move.

Victoria Coun. Chris Coleman was among the watchers, saying he was pleased that the “significant heritage value” of the houses was recognized. “You want to try to keep the cultural fabric of the community.”

Jawl Properties and Concert Properties are building a mixed-use development on the Capital Park site bordered by Michigan, Menzies and Superior streets. Three other historic houses will remain on the property.

On Tuesday, a truck hauled the two houses through Victoria to a waterfront site near the Janion on Store Street, where they were loaded onto a barge that was towed to a quiet spot in Esquimalt Harbour overnight.

On Wednesday morning, the barge pulled into Ogden Point, where a temporary bridge consisting of huge beams was installed close to the waiting lots.

“There were a few strong gusts of wind on the barge as it came around Ogden Point, but thanks to some quick manoeuvring by the tug boats, all went well,” said Karen Jawl of Jawl Properties.

One small tug remained at the rear of the barge to ensure it would not be blown back into Ogden Point, she said.

Trucks slowly moved the houses off the barge, one by one, stopping every few seconds to make sure they were in the correct position.

Moving-truck wheels can move independently, allowing workers to make sure they remained on the beams while crossing over the bridge, she said.

The original schedule allowed until 4 p.m. for the move from the barge to land, but the houses were on their lots well ahead of schedule, Jawl said, noting work is now beginning on foundations.

Plans call for the two-storey houses to be restored and to receive heritage designation, a higher level of protection than they have now. One house was built in 1892 and the other in 1911.

They will be put on the market in the spring. No prices have been set yet, Jawl said, adding that after a year of planning, it’s “rewarding” to see the houses in their new home.

“It was nice to see them in the context of their new neighbourhood, not just in a rendering,” she said.

“Once they are lowered onto their foundations, I think the scale of the houses will work well. I hope this is the last time the houses will be moved and, hopefully, they’ve now found their ‘forever’ home on Dallas Road.”

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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