Monday, October 8, 2012

Ewing House

The Ewing House was originally located at the southwest corner of Clinton & Dwight streets which is now the parking lot behind the Holy Cross church. 

When Holy Cross parish came into existence in 1905, it built a church on upper Dwight street on the former estate of George C, Ewing.  This church is now a Social center on Holy Cross ave. across from the entrance to the new (present) church.

The Ewing House became the parish rectory, it was located to the left of the church pictured above, east in the area between Holy Cross ave. and Clinton ave. (photo courtesy of

In 1925, a new church was built on the Ewing grounds, To the east of the original church.

The house was moved to make way for the new church and parking lot, note the house facing east toward Clinton ave. (photo courtesy of

The house at it's present day location at 54-56 Clinton ave. The front of the house which originally faced east, now faces north.

The house was moved by Louis Turgeon of Holyoke, who was an expert at doing this sort of work. (read below)

As this is written the old George C. Ewing house, which is being moved from the Holy Cross grounds across the road is high up on a trestle work or cribbing 15 feet above the roadway and blocking it.

If their usual success attains, it will be turned, part way around, facing in another direction, and be let down that 15 foot or so, coming to rest on its new foundation without a crack in the structure or a brick working loose.

It is slow work of course; and like other similar jobs is attracting a lot of attention from those who pass by curious to see this two-story affair high up on the cribbing.

“What is your way of tackling a job of this sort?” was asked one or the Turgeons.

“Well, as I told you,” he answered, “we -have no plans or specifications to go by. We first, give the building a thorough examination, find out how its timbers lie, and its general construction.

Then, if’ it. Is a brick or stone building. we find where we can knock holes in the walls for the steel beams or timbers to support it while it is being moved. I should say that the most important part of the building moving problem is to keep the building at all times perfectly level—all of it everywhere.

To do this requires constant inspection and care. If a building is lower In one part than another even by the small part of an inch the walls and ceilings; are subject to strain; a crack is likely to result, and it does not take much of a crack in a brick building to start trouble.

“The next thing we do in to block, up the building and raise it very slowly to get it on the timbers along which it must be rolled. As the utmost care must be taken to keep the building level we have, to make allowances for the settling of the ‘cribs’ on which rest the timbers over which the building moves.”

“In the case of the Ewing building the cribs of 15 feet or so will sink about two inches and we make allowances for that.

We use very hard rollers so that there will bo little or no give to them—wooden roller’s of pepperidge wood by preference.

The actual moving is done in several ways, but generally by use of drums operated by man power in the’ more delicate jobs, otherwise, horses. (photo & article courtesy of holyokemass,com)