Pasadena, circa 1958

My first experience with foundation bolting and retrofitting was gained in March, 1958 when my dad and grandfather moved their 10 unit apartment building across Madison Street in Pasadena, turning it around 180 degrees and placing it on the north east corner of Madison and Cordova. The building remains at this location today.

The move became necessary when the City of Pasadena decided to continue Cordova Street west of Madison. My dad, who had been a ship fitter during WWII and by this time was an Administrative Law Judge for the State of California decided there was no way the City was going to demolish what was
then a 4 year old building. My dad and Grandfather insisted the city buy a house across the street at 180 S. Madison owned by Mr. Contopolis, demolish that house and at City expense relocate their building there.

The building was jacked up and then nearly 1000 railroad ties were stacked to make a platform to roll the building across the street on 2 inch solid steel bars (above photo). Amazingly enough the mostly elderly female tenants found the procedure exciting and requested to stay until it was absolutely necessary to go to the hotel. This was way before OSHA was ever thought of and the city only required the tenants to be out while the building was actually moving across the street and being turned around.

It was supposed to take for of 5 days to get the building to its new site but very heavy March rains. While parked on the railroad tie turn table (photo #1) in the middle of the intersection there was a 2 week delay while things dried. I remember the railroad ties at one end sinking 6 inches through the street surface. The building passed the structures to the north and south with only 4 feet clearance (photos 2 & 3). Once lined up on the new site, the tenants moved back in while new foundation walls and piers were formed and poured and I was amazed how everything lined up perfectly when the building was lowered. I was under the building every step of the way.