Historic buildings on the move

November 7, 2016 by Kirsten Hower

Moving entire buildings, especially historic buildings, is no easy feat. In the past week, two historic structures were on the move to their new homes: Washington, D.C.'s Adas Israel synagogue and Denver's Kirkland Museum. Both buildings were moved with the utmost care and with the consultation of historic preservationists to ensure that they made it to their destinations intact.

The historic 1876 Adas Israel synagogue, the oldest synagogue in Washington, D.C., was moved for the second time in its history on Thursday, November 3rd. The first move in 1969 saved it from the wrecking ball and converted the synagogue into a museum of local Jewish history. This time the building was moved to escape the construction zone of the new Capitol Crossing project and it was the developer, Property Group Partners, who footed the bill.

The developer made a deal with the Jewish Historical Society — Property Group Partners would pay the cost of moving the building, about $500,000, and would contribute $9 million for the historical society to build a museum alongside the old synagogue at its new location one block south.

This move will allow the Jewish Historical Society to develop the new Jewish history museum of their dreams, with the Adas Israel synagogue as the crowning jewel and largest object in the collection.

Denver's 105-year-old Vance Kirkland studio closed down multiple streets this Sunday, November 6th, as it was transported eight blocks to its new home at 12th Avenue and Bannock Street.

"Moving the studio was integral. If we couldn't have moved it, I don't think we would have built the new museum," said Maya Wright, Kirkland spokesman.

The 13,840 square foot studio was built by Maurice B. Biscoe and Henry H. Hewitt in 1910 for English-born artist Henry Read's Students' School of Art. Vance Kirkland, who is counted among the most important Colorado artists, took over in 1932 and ran the Kirkland School of Art until 1946.

The Kirkland's move and new facility is near the Denver Art Museum and the Clyfford Still Museum, in Denver's Golden Triangle Neighborhood. It is scheduled to open in fall 2017.

Read more on the moves at the Washington Post and the Denver Post.

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