House Moving

If you pay attention to San Francisco news, you probably saw the talk of the town this weekend was a house being moved.  It was in all the local news outlets and even a handful of national news reports.  Being close to home, I had to go check it out.  This is the first house to be moved in nearly 50 years but it used to be more common in SF.  I guess historical preservation has always been on the minds of San Franciscans.  

The first time I heard about house moving was when I learned about San Francisco’s Octagon house.  The octagon house movement started in the 1850’s with the premise that you can get more volume in a structure if you build an octagon rather than a square or rectangle.  Of course, there’s trade-offs because all your rooms end up with a funny shape.  Octagon houses never became the standard but there’s still a lot of them out there and historical societies LOVE them.  

In the 1950’s, San Francisco’s octagon house was saved from demolition by one of those historical societies but they had to move it from it’s current lot.  So they did.  

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They only moved it across the street.  “Only”.  As if that’s an easy task.  But they did it.  Today, the Octagon House is fully restored and functions as a museum and occasional event space (when there’s not a pandemic.) It’s a super little piece of San Francisco history so I’m thankful that the preservationists made it happen.  

No idea what’s going to happen with the house that was moved yesterday but it was neat to see.  I was struck by how similar the mechanics of the two days were despite being nearly 70 years apart.  Without further ado, here’s the pictures I took yesterday.  I wasn’t getting up at 6 am to see the actual move but I did make it down there in time to see the house at it’s new location.  They’re prepping it to be backed into the new lot. 

Check out this clip to see the whole process…

That’s not something you see every day! 


  1. ReginaMary

    That’s awesome! We had a historic home in Rhinebeck moved from one side of the village to the other. It blows my mind how they do this. Sometimes homes are disassembled, the lumber is coded so they know how to put it back together again. Trippy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FogKnits

      The disassembly/reassembly seems even crazier to me…amazing that they get everything back in the right place!

      Being in Rhinebeck, you’re near one of the most historic octagon houses too! The guy credited with starting the octagon movement built his own home in Fishkill! (so at least close compared to me in San Francisco!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Olivia

    So here on Cape Cod we have a historical society fondly known as the hysterical society. My husband who is a design builder fights with them constantly. It will be one year to fight with them about a house that he moved 50 feet for them so they could decide if it was worth being a historical building and subsequently what to do with it. He’s trying to build a new house for a couple of old ladies who fear that they may die before they get a permit to even start. The house in question is literally a square box with two bedrooms I don’t know what is so historical about it as there are a million little two bedroom cottages on Cape Cod that need tearing down because they are full of either bugs or dry rot. However the house that you saw moved in The City is gorgeous and definitely worth saving. So if you want to see a lot of houses being moved come to Cape Cod. Builders have to do it all the time here while the ancient hysterical society participants who remember the “Old Days”decide what to do with the little bug dens. Lol


    1. Olivia

      Oh and incidentally we have one of those crazy Octagonal house is here on the Cape in Hyannis. It’s rotting away in the main part of town and it’s painted bright red. I don’t think anyone knows what to do with it, But tearing it down is not an option.


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