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Move Of Stamford's Hoyt-Barnum Historic House Marked By Delays

A Connecticut State Trooper, center, explains to moving company officials that the lower half of the Hoyt-Barnum House is too heavy for its permit and can't be moved. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Scales can be seen underneath the heavy-duty moving dolly for the Hoyt-Barnum House. The house exceeded its maximum weight and couldn't be moved as planned on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The roof of the Hoyt-Barnum House at its new home at the Stamford Historical Society headquarters at 1508 High Ridge Road. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- The problem-plagued moved of the historic Hoyt-Barnum House hit another snag Sunday evening when it was discovered the lower portion of the Stamford home was too heavy to be safely transported by the moving dolly on which it rested.

The house had been cut in two to be moved from its site at 713 Bedford St. to its new home at Stamford Historical Society’s headquarters at 1508 High Ridge Road. 

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

The roof section was transported to its new home Sunday morning, even though there was a delay in its move. But the lower part of the house was too heavy to move despite efforts throughout the day to lessen its weight.

State Troopers weighed the lower section of the house by placing scales under the dolly's wheels around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. They first recorded a weight of 177,900 pounds — just under its limit of 180,000 pounds — resulting in a whoop of joy by one of the moving company officials. 

However, the troopers doubled-checked their numbers and discovered the actual weight was 189,900 pounds. Also, they discovered that three of the dolly's four axles were above their individual weights.

A senior state trooper informed officials of the company responsible for the move that the house was too heavy and couldn't be transported at that time. If it could not be moved, it would have to remain on site. As of 6 p.m., the move was not going ahead.

The original plan called for the house's two sections to be moved beginning at 5 a.m. Sunday, with the entire move completed by 9 a.m.  However, it did not go according to plan. 

High Ridge Road is a state road, so State Troopers also had to oversee the move as well as Stamford Police, because Bedford Street is a city responsibility. 

Sunday morning it was discovered that the vehicles needed to pull the roof and the house in tandem weren't licensed for Connecticut, forcing the movers to take only the roof. Instead of starting at 5 a.m., the go-ahead to move the roof was given shortly after 6 a.m. The roof was successfully moved to 1508 High Ridge Road. 

The permit for the move allowed a maximum weight of 120,000 pounds for the lower section. But it was discovered that it well exceeded that. After a call to the state's Department of Transportation commissioner, the weight limit was allowed to go to 180,000 pounds.

A source, who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak officially, said the concern was that an overloaded dolly could become incapacitated on High Ridge Road, leading to traffic chaos.

Roderick Scott, a consultant on the project, said they went to work to lighten the house's weight by taking out chimney stones that were left on the first floor. He said the stones had been left there to ease the reassembling of the house.

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