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Essex house on the move

Posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by Northshore

The Mayer family saved the historic Luther Burnham home from demolition by taking it for a ride. The family moved the home, built in 1915, from 9 Beach Circle to 98 Conomo Point Road Tuesday.  “We were trying to save the house because of its historic value,” owner Dan Mayer said. The work took longer than expected after a rainy Monday left the ground damp and soft; the wheels of Payne Construction Services and Building Movers’ massive equipment kept sinking beneath the weight of the 102-year-old house. The home was still not sitting completely on the foundation by the end of the day on Tuesday. Cable, electric and Verizon cables had to be taken down because the house was so tall that it would have snagged them during the transfer. Crews from National Grid and Verizon started shutting down power lines at 8:30 a.m. to remove the wires, and Conomo Point road was closed by 10 a.m. to all through traffic in the area between Beach Circle and Cogswell Road. Single-lane traffic was opened around 2 p.m. Dozens of neighbors walked to the site to watch the commotion. Mayer, who owns Mayer Tree Service, was right in the middle of the work with the crew from Payne, laying down plywood to provide a solid pathway for the eight wheels supporting either side of the structure sitting atop it.
When asked what one does in preparation to move an existing house, Mayer replied “everything.” From permitting and coordinating utilities to finding building movers, it wasn’t a simple process. “They’re really hard to find,” Mayer said of the movers, “It’s kind of a lost art.” Payne workers were in Texas just last week, and they move all over the country. “It was hard to get them,” Mayer said.
The Mayers, who owned a home for about 10 years at 98 Conomo Point Road that needed renovations, decided to purchase the historic home for “small change” and move it just around the corner to preserve some town history. Since the town owns some land on Conomo Point and leases it to the tenants who own the structures on the property, the previous owner of the historic home had two choices after deciding not to renew their lease: pay to move the house itself or turn it over to the town, which would then destroy the property. “We took the opportunity to save the older one,” Jennifer Mayer said, “Its got a lot of character. It will be cute. It fits in.” Mayer, his wife, Jennifer, and their two daughters, ages 12 and 14, plan to live in the cottage seasonally as their summer home. They live elsewhere in Essex year-round. The shell of a house will need all new electric and plumbing. “It’s very bare bones inside,” Jennifer Mayer said. “They are just seasonal cottages so they don’t have any insulation.”

By Mary Markos

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