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10 Heaviest Buildings or Structures Ever Moved or Relocated

Over the past few centuries, buildings have been getting increasingly bigger. This hasn’t just been seen in height, but also in width. Naturally, this has meant that quite a large number of buildings weigh much more than many of us might have realized.

This has led to quite a large number of people wondering how much some of the heaviest buildings are. One thing that many people may overlook is that buildings can be moved intact, which leads to a variety of other questions, such as whether this can be done.

One of the more prominent of these is how this is done. While this may be one of the largest questions that many people may have, some might wonder what the heaviest building ever moved has been. With the weight that’s typically involved with a property, you might be surprised at how much the largest building moved might be.

Agecroft Hall (180 Tons)

Moving a building is one thing, but moving it across the ocean is quite another. However, this is what was done with Agecroft Hall, which was moved from Lancashire, England, to Richmond, Virginia. The property had done into a state of disrepair during its history and was subsequently bought by a Virginian named Thomas Williams, Jr.

After buying it, he had the majority of the house disassembled, placed on a boat, and then shipped to a new plot of land in the United States. However, this doesn’t mean that the 180-ton home was still in its original condition after being put back up. Instead, it was redesigned slightly to match the new surroundings, though it still uses all of the same materials.

The Belle Tout Lighthouse (850 Tons)

While this is far from being one of the world’s largest buildings, moving the 850-ton lighthouse off of a 300-foot cliff isn’t easy. However, this is what happened with the Belle Tout Lighthouse, which had become quite close to the water, thanks to the cliff being eroded.

Over the course of a few days, the lighthouse was moved over 164 feet (50 meters) to make sure that it was in a safer position. The process was relatively slow, and at one point, the building was moved two feet over a three hour period. However, reports suggest that this was the slowest the building moved during the entire relocation process.

Fairmount Hotel (1,600 Tons)

Despite having quite an extensive history as a safe haven for railroad passengers, the 1,600-ton Fairmount Hotel was up for demolition in 1984. The three-story former hotel was in the way of a new development, which led to many people wanting it demolished.

However, its history curried favor, which meant that it would be moved by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Done in 1985, this ended up placing it significantly closer to the Alamo, which is only two blocks away.

The Gem Theater (2,700 Tons)

The 2,700-ton Gem Theater is the home of the Detroit Lions, although where it’s currently located isn’t where it was initially built. Instead, in 1999, owners International Chimney Corp. relocated it so that it could be closer to the Detroit Lion’s Ford Field.

What makes this all the more interesting was the Century Club, which is permanently attached to the Gem Theater. However, it had a significant amount of structural damage, which required fortification before it could be moved.

The Shubert Theater (2,908 Tons)

The Shubert Theater is the oldest theater in the Midwest, with its history going all the way back to the early 20th Century. By 1999, however, it was facing demolition as plans were hatched to redevelop the area. To save the building, Artspace spent 12 days moving the Shubert Theater a quarter of a mile down the street.

There were 70 dollies and 100 hydraulic jacks used to transport the building during the relocation. Eventually, the Shubert Theater was renovated and turned into a center that provides various art education programs, which it unveiled in 2008.

The Hotel Montgomery (4,816 Tons)

The Hotel Montogomery had an extensive history at its location before being moved. However, in 1990, it was facing demolition after being vacant for years. After a significant amount of back and forth, officials decided to protecting the building for historical reasons and moved it 182 feet to make room for an expansion.

According to reports, the move itself cost an estimated $3 million, though the overall price of restoring and renovating it brought it up to $8.5 million. It now serves as quite an impressive boutique hotel.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (4,830 Tons)

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse had long been known as the tallest lighthouse in the country and had an extensive history behind it. However, it was being threatened by waters that had eroded much of the adjacent cliff face, which meant that it needed to be relocated.

Over a 23-day period, the National Park Service moved the lighthouse a reported 2,900-feet or 884-meters. While many people didn’t think it could be done, a significant amount of planning and effort went into saving the building.

Newark International Airport Building 51 (7,400 Tons)

Newark Airport’s Building 51 was one of its first terminals, with a significant amount of air industry royalty passing through, including Amelia Earhart, among others. Over the decades after it was built, however, it became used increasingly less. This eventually led to it becoming an office building.

It almost ended up being demolished, although the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office saved it and moved it 100 feet to its current location.

Fu Gang Building (15,140 Tons)

The Fu Gang Building in the Guangxi Province of China holds the record for heaviest building moved intact. Coming in at over 15,000 tonnes, it’s easy to see why. While there are relatively few details known about the relocation, what is known about it makes it quite impressive.

One of the more interesting aspects of this is that, though it was only moved 118 feet (36 meters), the process took over 11 days. Given that this is almost double the previous entry, it looks as though the record of heaviest building moved intact looks to be safe with the Fu Gang Building for quite some time.

Abu Simbel (31,000 Tons)

Abu Simbel might not be the first thing that many people will think of when it comes to a building being moved. With how much the pyramid weighed when it was moved, however, it deserves a mention. This was undertaken by the Egyptian government after a dam was installed near the temple.

Naturally, this led to a significant amount of flooding, which meant that the Abu Simbel was located. Eventually, the temple was moved over 213 meters, or 700 feet. While many people may assume the sheer size of the property is what made this difficult, it wasn’t the only thing.

Instead, the Egyptian government also had to worry about the intricate carvings and other valuable artifacts that were kept inside. As such, the move took much longer and needed much more effort than many people may have initially thought.

Moving any of the above buildings proved to be a mammoth undertaking. Through innovative engineering and ingenuity, however, the buildings were moved with fewer issues than many people may have thought they would. As such, the majority of them proved to be much easier than might have been initially speculated.

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