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Museum of the American Railroad

July 3, 2012 - H&TC Depot Move Minimize

The H&TC depot arrived at its new home in Frisco today.  Following a ten hour trek that took the building nearly to Mesquite before heading northwest, it arrived at 5:00am (see image at left).  Several radio and television stations covered the move preparations which began Monday morning at 9:00am. 

H. D. Snow & Son, aided by McMillan Movers who provided logistics, did an outstanding job of moving the 25’x36’x18’ load through the narrow tree lined streets of Dallas.  Recent damage to the Dolphin Road I-30 overpass prevented the depot from taking the same route as Tower 19.  This necessitated a long, circuitous route east from Fair Park along Scyene Road and Military Parkway to Buckner Boulevard.  From that point, the caravan worked its way back to the original route beginning at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue – some five hours after its 7:30pm departure from Fair Park.  The depot then progressed north on Greenville Avenue, eventually working its way over to Preston Road where it traveled all the way to 121 (see image below), and then to the Dallas North Tollway service road. 

With the exception of several tree branches resulting in a few broken windows, the depot fared the trip well.  Perhaps with the exception of an attic fire in 1922, the depot had the roughest night of its life.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it entered the Museum’s new Frisco site from Cotton Gin Road in the early hours of the morning.  It has been temporarily placed at a point short of its permanent location until concrete piers can be poured.  Once the depot is placed on piers and leveled, reconstruction of the roof will begin. 

The venerable structure begins a new chapter in its 112+ year life.  Its exact origin is unknown, but recent research indicates that it may have progressed north along T&NO lines for various uses as towns grew at the turn of the century.  Its years in Dallas as a yard office date back to at least 1918 when it was listed in an ICC valuation report prepared for all Southern Pacific improvements in the area.  Who would have thought that the depot would once again move north from its home in Fair Park, some 50 years after being displaced by Interstate 30 highway construction?

Our thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly during the 23 hours of preparation and movement of the H&TC depot.  A special thanks to Russel Sales and the folks at TW Construction who meticulously removed the roof and assisted with achieving the 18’ maximum height restriction necessary to move the structure.  Thanks also to the Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau staff for their coordination of media coverage of this exciting event.  And finally, thanks to the Dallas Police Department for their patience as the depot moved ever so slowly along Garland Road, negotiating countless low-hanging branches.

The Big Move - Structures Minimize


June 27, 2012
With the rain behind us for a while, the remaining portions of the depot roof have been removed.  H. D. Snow & Son is scheduled to move the building on Monday evening, July 2nd.  Preparations for the move will take place that morning, including rolling the depot out along beams onto Washington Street for final assembly of the bogies.  A crane will lift the three dormer assemblies from atop the roof rafters to be transported separately. 

Like Tower 19, the depot will be required to have a final loaded height of no more than 18 feet in order to negotiate the many urban obstacles between Fair Park and the new Frisco site.  The depot will make its way through Fair Park Monday afternoon and will depart from the Gaisford Street gate by sundown.  The journey is expected to take three or four hours, with the depot arriving at the Frisco site in the wee hours of the morning.

June 13, 2012
Our venerable H&TC depot has taken on a completely different look in recent weeks.  The composite shingles and roof decking have been removed along with the original lath dating back to 1900.  This work is necessary to achieve an overall height of the structure that does not exceed 18 feet, including the beams and wheels on which it will move. 

All that remained was careful disassembly of the roof rafters and removal of the three gables.  Then, as if on cue, the rains came.  The roof disassembly project has been put on hold until at least seven days of dry weather is assured.  Heavy duty tarps have been placed over the depot to keep it in the dry until work can resume. 

Once rafters are removed, the dormers will be laid flat on the ceiling joists and the air conditioning unit will be removed.  The depot will then be ready for movement to Frisco, which, like Tower 19, will take place during the evening hours. 

Once the depot has arrived at the Frisco site, the roof will be reconstructed.  Each piece of the original roof structure, including lathwork, has been labeled for reassembly in its original location and configuration.  The gables, having been left intact, will be lifted into place and repaired as necessary.  New decking and shingles will be applied as the final step in the roof reconstruction process. 

The depot will be placed on 26 permanent concrete piers drilled to bedrock.  Its location has changed from the original site plan.  The depot will now be located adjacent to the Museum’s shop lead track, just southeast from its original proposed location.  The Museum is working closely with the Texas Historical Commission to assure the structural and historical integrity of the depot.  Its orientation and context is of the highest importance to the Museum in order to maintain its Landmark status and historical interpretation.

May 17, 2012
The upper and middle sections of Tower 19 were reunited today.  H.D. Snow & Son spent the last couple of days raising the upper portion several feet in the air to allow for the middle section to be rolled underneath.  The upper section was then carefully lowered into position, paying particular attention to aligning the corner posts and vertical studs.  (See the photo album below for a sequence of images during reassembly)

Tower 19 is of the balloon type construction.  Each vertical stud will require a splint of similar material and dimension to be bolted in place.  Exterior grade plywood will then be screwed to the studs, extending above and below the original cuts that made separation of Tower 19 possible.  The exterior drop siding will then be reapplied using that which was salvaged during disassembly, supplemented by new material milled to original pattern size. 

Once Tower 19 is “sewn up,” work will begin on its permanent foundation/first floor.  As with the Tower’s original location and second home at Fair Park, the base will be constructed of concrete.  The foundation will be just east of the Tower’s present location.  The Tower is sitting adjacent to this site to facilitate drilling of piers, etc.  Once the foundation is complete, Tower 19 will be rolled across beams and lowered in place in the same fashion in which it was removed from its foundation in Fair Park.

March 6, 2012:
The Museum’s circa 1900 Houston & Texas Central Depot is currently being readied for movement to Frisco.  Today, H. D. Snow & Son completed the installation of two 60 foot beams which now support the length of the structure by its floor joists.  At the east end of the depot the beams straddle four bogies which are clamped to shorter beams mounted 90 degrees to the 60 footers.  On the west end the beams will be attached to Snow’s largest truck via another transverse beam once movement day arrives.
The depot was hydraulically raised and lowered about 6 inches this afternoon to test the lifting equipment.  The building creaked and groaned a bit as staff continued to work in their offices in the upstairs loft.  Having passed the test, the Depot sits level with its series of floor joists on a perfect horizontal plane – something the Depot hasn’t experienced in recent years due to settling and deterioration of the wooden piers installed in 1963. 

The next step is to remove the roof, including eaves, in order to achieve the reduced height and width necessary for the trip to Frisco.  This is scheduled to take a few weeks, weather permitting.  Once the roof is disassembled and a suitable temporary covering installed, the Depot will make the trek to Frisco.

March 6, 2012:
The Museum’s Santa Fe Tower 19 now has the distinction of being the first piece in the collection to arrive in Frisco.  The Tower was moved onto the site at 1:15am today following a nearly 3 ½ hour trek from Fair Park.  The intermediate and top floors moved one behind the other on separate sets of bogies along streets through East Dallas, North Dallas, and finally up Preston Road to the Frisco city limits.  They then traveled west along the 121 service road and finally north along the Dallas North Tollway service road to Cotton Gin Road. 

The move went off without a hitch – the product of much planning and preparation by all parties involved.  H. D. Snow & Son did an outstanding job of moving the Tower for an unprecedented third time in its long life.  With a motorcycle escort, four vehicles occupied the full width of most Dallas streets as it moved northward during the cool evening hours.  The Dallas Morning News accompanied us for the entire route, gathering documentation through photographs, video, and interviews.  There was a feeling of exhilaration and great accomplishment as this historic structure arrived in a community that has long anticipated the relocation of the Museum.  This move will undoubtedly be the last as the Tower takes its place at its new, permanent home in Frisco.

The structure’s upper two floors have been temporarily positioned in close proximity to where they will be placed on a permanent concrete foundation that will faithfully replicate the first floor.  The stairway side of Tower 19 will ultimately face the Museum’s lead track and BNSF’s main line to the east.  The full-windowed side of the Tower will face west, providing a panoramic view of the new Museum.  This orientation is in keeping with the Tower’s original configuration along the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe / Missouri- Kansas-Texas of Texas lines, its original builders in 1903. 

February 27, 2012:
Due to the possibility of rain this week, Tower 19 is tentatively scheduled to move to Frisco Monday, March 5.

February 23, 2012:
Today, Tower 19’s uppermost floor was removed from the second floor in preparation for movement to Frisco.  The top floor will be lowered to the ground and placed on bogies (wheels).  Weighing nearly 47,000 lbs., it contains the 105-lever “pistol grip” interlocking machine manufactured by General Railway Signal Company in 1952. 

February 8, 2012:
Preparations are underway to separate Tower 19 into two sections for movement to Frisco.  H.D. Snow & Son is inserting beams lengthwise through the structure in order to raise the uppermost floor off the intermediate floor.  As can be seen in the photograph, the longitudinal beams will allow the top floor to straddle transverse beams at each end of the structure, which will provide for movement westward to be lowered onto a trailer for transport.

November 21, 2012:

The Museum’s two historic structures are being readied for the big move to Frisco.  The circa 1900 Houston & Texas Central Depot and 1903 Santa Fe Interlocking Tower 19 will make the 30 mile trek to their new home.  Unfortunately, both structures are too tall to move intact and will require disassembly. 

In order to remain within a maximum height of 18 feet and also meet clearance limitations on width, the H&TC Depot’s roof will be removed, including eaves.  Each piece will be carefully disassembled, labeled, and set aside for reassembly. 

Tower 19 will be separated into two sections.  The uppermost floor will be carefully removed from the lower portion of the building by removing exterior siding and making strategic cuts in the balloon type framing.  The top floor will be placed on beams to be moved separately with its roof intact.  The second floor will then be raised off the concrete base, which makes up the first floor.  A portion of the original concrete foundation will remain intact with the second floor and moved to Frisco, as was the case when the Tower was moved to Fair Park in 1996.  The third and second floors will then be moved separately to Frisco. 

H.D. Snow & Son House Moving of Fort Worth will move both structures.  Snow moved Tower 19 from its original location near Lamar and Corinth Streets to Fair Park in August, 1996.  

The Depot and Tower 19 will be reassembled at the Frisco site using 95% of their original materials including siding and roofing.  They will be placed on permanent concrete foundations as part of Phase IC construction.  Tower 19 will have a new first floor base constructed.   

The Museum has been working closely with the Texas Historical Commission throughout the planning process for the move.  Every effort has been made to preserve the historic and structural integrity of the buildings.  The Depot was designated a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 1979, and Tower 19 was entered into the Historic American Engineering Record in 1992.

Video Minimize

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The Big Move - Structures Images Minimize
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