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Mobile triple deckers never really worked out

An East Boston triple decker on wheels

On Sept. 13, 1950, a crew started moving a triple decker from 409 Frankfort St. in East Boston to 4 Milton St. (now 4 Horace St.), so the MTA could extend what is now the Blue Line from Maverick Square to Orient Heights.

But, as the Boston Herald reported, they only got as far as Benington and Swift streets before the large axle on the trailer on which the house was being transported snapped, blocking traffic at least until workers sawed off part of the first-floor rear piazza, or deck. It took three days for a replacement axle to be shipped up to Boston.

A view of the triple decker under way.

Photo by Maynard White, from the BPL Boston Herald-Traveler Photo Morgue collection.

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Comments

Imagine if they moved that today, right through Route 1A traffic, detour to the Ted Williams tunnel , 8AM on a Monday morning . Destination route 90 west Masspike exit 17.

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When houses are transported like this (and it does occasionally happen up to the present day) they tend to go very slowly, for a variety of obvious reasons, so it's going to be causing traffic more than anyone would worry about avoiding it.

And of course, you really don't want to get Storrowed when you're driving a multi-story house.

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The triple-decker I lived in as a child in Providence was moved across town in 1999.
https://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/1999-00/99-021.html

It makes visiting the areas very weird - where I grew up, nothing is familiar anymore, and where the house is, the whole neighborhood is one I didn't know.

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It was a decade ago, maybe longer, that Harvard decided to move a stately building to what is now 1637 Mass Ave. Here's the streetview. (Between Harvard and Porter Sq.)

First they had to cut that green dorm in half which was fairly impressive itself. I kept wondering why they carefully knocked half of it down and stopped.

Next they advertised that Mass Ave and the bus lines would be shut for the weekend. The MBTA made them bring a structural engineering firm to verify that the truck moving the house wouldn't collapse the Red Line tunnel that runs below Mass Ave. Then the T had to remove the power lines for the electric busses.

The actual move was pretty cool. A whole bunch of locals came out to watch. Kind of a very slow parade of sorts.

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It was much longer than that. I was out early that morning with my now-17-year-old in the baby carrier and happened on to them moving the Victorians. Very cool. Must have been early 2007 or so… I could look it up but am just too lazy.

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https://vimeo.com/111458975

My second thought is about the name "Associated Building Movers". Were there enough building movers around for them to become associated?

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As recently as 2011, there was still a triple decker on the other side of the street, and this lot was a pleasant lawn with some trees.

Now, the triple decker is gone, though there's a cobblestone outline of it on the ground. And this lot is a weedy mess.

Why couldn't all the houses have remained? And why can't there be an opening in the fence to allow access to Wood Island Station? Of course this bulldozed shell of a street still requires an East Boston parking permit, even though the nearest residence is a quarter mile walk away.

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Why couldn't all the houses have remained? And why can't there be an opening in the fence to allow access to Wood Island Station? Of course this bulldozed shell of a street still requires an East Boston parking permit, even though the nearest residence is a quarter mile walk away.

Why? Because MassPort bought all the houses in that area for the Logan Airport expansion that happened in the 60s. Then because of airport noise, most homes within X feet of the airport property were purchased and bulldozed (or moved). Thats why those "Airport Buffer" green zones were made (or something like that).

Google "Neptune Road Logan Airport Boston" and you'll find lots of links about the old neighborhood that was there (it was much larger than the current street grid shows)

In short.. Why? MassPort.

As far as Wood Island. I agree, but Wood Island was rebuilt in the mid-90s (when the upper bus loop was removed). Wood Island has some of the lowest boardings on the blue line (next to Suffolk Downs) so it boils down to $$$$$ . Spend 400k engineering / construction of a walkway to an empty street that connects to basically an offramp from 1A and a service road. Hard pressed to find funds at all to do this. Maybe when Wood Island gets rebuilt in 2070 or some future year way down the road.

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It's a dead-end that now has no residences or businesses fronting on it. It would make more sense to tear it up and add it to the adjoining buffer park.

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The last house (406) stood until at least 2011, when park was already at least partly built. So maybe street had to remain at least that long, and no point to removing after?

I'd say emergency services access to the Blue Line, but it doesn't match grade and is a fence/wall (not a gate). There is a fire hydrant very close to that end, though.

Also, an 8" water main connected Frankfort at both ends - Neptune and Bennington. Did they sever and cap it, or leave it running through?

Maybe a right-of-way/easement with the T for maintenance access?

Maybe a turf issue? City wants to keep an unusable (to them) cul-de-sac rather than risking MassPort or T claiming it to expand footprint in any way (without the city being able to leverage it)?

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.

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175 years ago In Provincetown we just put them on barrels, floated them a mile plus across the harbor, dragged them up onto the beach with horses and stuck a foundation under them (sometimes). Easy.

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… a small house was floated on barrels from one side of Peddocks Island to another.

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Seems to have been a thing in the early 20th century.

My parents bought a house in an older section of a city. They found out that it had originally been built about 20 years before the supposed construction date (1885 instead of 1905) and then moved up a hill across two building lots within a city block to the next street when a much older house burned down (around 1900). Then a block of four 1 bedroom apartments was built on the lot where the house originally stood, sometime around 1910.

The new location had a narrow frontage, while the old lot was shallower and much wider. The space between the lots remained with the house.

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I always thought of them as stacked mobile homes ... and here we are!

(When I first saw the inside of one in college it was during the "wood panel everything era" and damn if it didn't strongly resemble a large version of the trailer house that I grew up in!)

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Swirls, you're pretty much correct

Triple Decker = Cheap Housing for the working class

Mobile Homes = Cheap housing for the working class

The only difference is the decade.

Hell even the layout is similar. Front to back rectangle, with Living/Dining/Kitchen in the front a long hallway down one side and bedrooms in the back. Most single wide mobile homes follow this same layout format.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_of_Chicago

The lifting of all those buildings to the new grade level was impressive enough, but also a number of houses and other buildings were moved elsewhere.

Traveller David Macrae wrote, “Never a day passed during my stay in the city that I did not meet one or more houses shifting their quarters. One day I met nine. Going out Great Madison Street in the horse cars we had to stop twice to let houses get across.”

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They regraded the area around the buildings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regrading_in_Seattle

This may be a good model for the seaport in the coming years.

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Given the approaching time of year, it smacks of proto- Allston Christmas:

We were moving our whole house but the axle broke, so we said 'F this!' and left it at the side of the road. We'll just get another house somewhere and have it delivered!

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… until I caught on to the meaning of th British expression “moving house”.

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