PHOTOS: Historic Sharpe House Now in New Location at Brown University Following Move

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


View Larger +

Sharpe House

Brown University’s historic Sharpe House has been moved to its new location on Brown Street.

PHOTOS: See New Location of Sharpe House BELOW

After the move of the historic structure started on Monday, the house is now situated in its new location directly adjacent to Peter Green House, another 19th-century residence, which was also moved by the university to Brown Street in 2007 to create “The Walk" -- the walkway between the main campus and the former Pembroke campus.

According to a university spokesperson, now that the house is on Brown Street in its new location, a new foundation will be constructed to finalize the moving process. 

Making Way for Development

The move will open that site that will enable future development of Brown’s planned Performing Arts Center. The first plan by Brown for the performing art center faced fierce opposition due to the number of houses that would need to be demolished or moved.

“Through the Sharpe House relocation and renovation, the University will not only preserve the historic building and improve the Department of History’s academic space, but also free a key site in the heart of College Hill as we continue planning toward a Performing Arts Center,” said Russell Carey, Brown’s executive vice president for planning and policy.

For months, the 446-ton building has been elevated on wooden “cribbing” — a matrix of wood blocks used to raise and support the structure — as Facilities Management, working with Davis Building Movers, has prepared it to move west on a path called a “haul road.”

Davis Building Movers has been moving structures since the 1800s and formerly used teams of horses to relocate buildings. For this week’s Sharpe House move, the team is using four large, metal, motorized four-wheeled dollies outfitted with levels, Sisson said.

The steerable dollies, which were placed under the house on December 11, lift the building and are controlled by a technician using a joystick, he said. The dollies — and the building — are moved with great care to avoid tilting the structure more than 12 inches off plumb to maintain its structural integrity.

As the house is moved, it will pivot so the front doors of Sharpe House, which formerly faced Angell Street, will open onto Brown Street. The house will be set down on a prepared footing, and then a foundation will be built from underneath the structure.

A renovation project designed by Kite Architects will connect Sharpe House and Peter Green on three floors — the ground, second and third floors — creating, in essence, a single unified facility. An elevator will be installed in Sharpe House, and the new connections between buildings and all interior spaces will be accessible to those with disabilities. The renovation is expected to be complete in time for the 2019-20 academic year, according to Robert Self, chair of the history department. 

This story was first published 12/18/18 11:40 AM.


Related Slideshow: Sharpe House Arrives at New Location at Brown University


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.


Sign Up for the Daily Eblast

I want to follow on Twitter

I want to Like on Facebook

Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox