20020824 House Move

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All in the Name of History

Photos By Joe Gigli

MORRISTOWN What a sight to behold! Hundreds of spectators gathered this weekend to see a 3-story, 107-year old clapboard house make its way through the streets of Morristown, moving from its original site on Pine Street to its new location on DeHart Street. (above right) Peter Kaphouris, owner, takes a moments rest to pose for a photo with his house on Pine Street. (left) A view of the house and lot on DeHart Street.

House Relocation Attracts Area Residents

Photos By Joe Gigli

MORRISTOWN What a sight to behold! Hundreds of spectators gathered this weekend to see a 3-story, 107-year old clapboard house make its way through the streets of Morristown, moving from its original site on Pine Street to its new location on DeHart Street.

 It was a fantastic sight because of the mere size of the structure (weighing 200 tons!) and that it was hoisted up 15 feet off the ground on steel girders with wheels. Today, it has finally reached its

new lot after having been rotated, then pushed back onto the new foundation.

 Why move such an old, dilapidated house? Because Peter Kaphouris, owner, wanted to save a piece of Morristown history instead of seeing it torn down.

 "It would be sad to destroy something like this" instead of saving it "to pass on to other generations," said Mr. Kaphouris. "Not only have we saved a piece of Morristown history, we have generated lots of

excitement during the final dogs days of summer." He has already invested approximately $200,000 into the project.

 Built in 1895 for the Struble family, it remained a private residence for them and their descendents until the late 1940s. It features a beautiful staircase in the foyer and a stained glass window on the second floor. In the early 1950s, it was sold and renovated to accommodate several local businesses including a doctor's office, a florist and a beauty salon.

 The Community Theatre of Morristown purchased the property in 1995. They intended to use the house as a backstage facility including dressing rooms and staff offices. At the time, the house was located behind the theatre, and the theatre was adjacent to the former town hall (Vail Mansion).  With the Vail Mansion scheduled for re-development as a large hotel, its owners restricted the theatre's access to the backstage area. The theatre turned to the state for approval to raze the house in order to construct a rear loading

(above) Don Smith, chairman of the board Morristown Community Theater; and Peter Kaphouris, talk with the press

dock, necessary for the venue's survival.

 The New Jersey State Historic Sites Council stipulated that before the four-bay, gambrel roof building could be

demolished, the theatre had to offer it for sale for $1 to anyone interested in relocating and rehabilitating it. Mr. Kaphouris, owner of London World Connection, a hair salon and spa on DeHart Street, responded.
   Mr. Kaphouris, who lives in Mt. Arlington, is hopeful that

(above left) Dublin Pub Manager Drew W. Isaacson, and Owner Jim Mongey, chat with Morristown Police Lt. Willie Caldwell. (below) Workers from W.A. Building Movers and Contractors Inc. , of Westfield, prepare the hose for the move.

renovations will begin by the end of September. After all is said and done, half of the house will take on new life as an upscale day spa, and the other half will be offered for lease.

 "All this would never have happened if it weren't for the help from First Union Bank and Paul Miller of the Morristown Partnership, a community-oriented organization," he added. "My brother Marius came from England to help me out, too." 

(above left) Luke A. Roclo, and Dr. Carmen D. Galdieri, remember what the house was like, when Dr. Galdieri had his office there.

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