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Stamford Gets Ready To Move Historic Hoyt-Barnum House Up The Road

The Hoyt-Barnum House cut in two and ready to be moved to its new location on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Hoyt-Barnum House cut in two and ready to be moved to new location on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The Hoyt-Barnum House. Photo Credit: File
The route for the move of the Hoyt-Barnum House. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- An important part of Stamford’s Colonial history will be making a big move this weekend to make room for Stamford’s modern policing needs.

The Hoyt-Barnum House located at 713 Bedford St. will be moved Sunday morning to its new home at the Stamford Historical Society’s headquarters at 1508 High Ridge Road. It has been cut in half for the move.

The move occurs as the city goes forward with plans to build a new police station that would include the lot at 713 Bedford St.

“Stamford’s oldest house deserves to be around for another 300 years, and its best chance of that is at the Historical Society,” said Mayor David Martin. “This delicate operation has been a big undertaking for the city’s engineering department and the historical society, and will certainly be a sight to see.”

After the historical society realized the city's plans for the police station, they cut a deal with the city last year to move the building.

Roderick Scott, a consultant on the project, said getting the house ready to move was a lengthy process.

"It wasn’t technically difficult, but it was time-consuming, especially with the massive fireplace," he said.

Stones weighing as much as a half-ton were the foundation for the chimney, which weighs an estimated 30 tons, Scott said.

"Its pretty amazing," he said about the Colonists' work in gathering and placing the foundation stones. "They only had horse and ropes and leverage bars were the only tools."

According to the historical society, the house is representative of the Second American Building Period, post 1675. The people who built the house were the children or grandchildren of Stamford’s founders. It is believed to have been built in 1699.

While the early homes were modeled on those that were in England, where the Colonists overwhelming either came from or where their families had emigrated from, the style of homes were gradually adjusted to an American style to accommodate the different climate and materials.

Most of the houses in New England, including Stamford, were built of wood because it was difficult to make mortar to hold stone together without lime, and lime was in short supply in Stamford, according to the society.

The house has been cut in two to allow it to be transported more easily to its new location. The two pieces will be placed on moving dollies and pulled by rig to the final site by the city’s movers, Davis Building Movers. Martin will be riding in the Mack truck pulling the house.

The chimney has already been taken apart and moved to the Historical Society site. Most of the stone foundation of the house has already been disassembled and categorized for reassembly later at the site.

The move will take the Hoyt-Barnum House along Bedford Street and then up High Ridge Road. High Ridge Road will be open for traffic in one lane, with police directing traffic around the truck. Bedford Street will be closed at 4 a.m. Sunday and reopened as the house moves north.

There will be no parking on Bedford Street between North Street and Fifth Street from 8 a.m. Saturday to noon Sunday. Variable message boards will be posted with detour signs before the move.

The Hoyt-Barnum House move will begin around 5 a.m. Sunday and be completed before 9 a.m.

Scott said the goal is to piece the house back together by Christmas. He said that has been around for about 350 years will inform and educate residents for years to come.

"It’s really going to be something that the children of this community as well as adults will be able to enjoy for another 400 years at least," he said.

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