By Luke Webber
On Thursday, Jan. 11, Wolfe House & Building Movers moved the Ewing-Bordeaux Cottage from 405 N. Lumina Ave. to a lot on the town’s historic square.
Engineers moved the house south on Lumina Avenue, across the Causeway Bridge and west on Causeway Drive to the lot next to the town’s visitor center. Engineers installed a latticework of steel beams underneath the dwelling that were used for support during the relocation process. The transport system did not require the use of a truck, instead using a remote control for propulsion purposes. The museum provided coffee on the porch of the Chamber of Commerce Building/Visitors Center for spectators who watched the move, which began at 10 a.m. and took about 4-6 hours.
Wrightsville Beach Museum of History officials said the cottage move would serve as a fundraising platform as it continued to raise money for renovations and other museum activities.
Walt Lackey, president of Lackey Builders, the company that helped prepare the cottage for the move, said the building still had sand from 1996’s Hurricane Fran under the building.
“This was very exciting for us,” Lackey said of the move.
Wolfe Movers moved the 1924 Bordeaux Cottage, formerly located at 405 North Lumina Avenue to the Wrightsville beach Historic Square in the 300 block of West Salisbury Street. The Bordeaux Cottage was donated by Chris and Debbie Strickland to the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History to expand the current museum.
The move was done without the traditional truck and beam system, instead utilizing remote-controlled dollies. The dollies allowed for more flexibility in traversing corners in that the dollies appeared to “crab” around corners.
According to Wolfe’s website “Equipped with the latest in radio remote-controlled hydraulic dollies, the Buckingham Power and Coaster Dollies bring the levels of stress on your building to a historic low. The Buckingham Dollies are designed and built in-house and then used for all of our relocation projects, as well as rented and sold to other riggers and structural movers around the world.”
Saving a historic building, the 1924 Ewing-Bordeaux Cottage, located at 405 N. Lumina Avenue, along with its neighbor, the Williams-Bordeaux, are the oldest fully-intact structures north of Stone Street. They are the last two of six cottages that survived the Great Fire of 1934. Currently the greatest threat to historic cottages is the steady rise in property values and demand for development. Moving the Ewing-Bordeaux Cottage saved a rare example of local Wrightsville Beach architecture of which only a handful remain and transitioned it into a public building to be enjoyed on a much wider scale.
Not only did moving the Ewing-Bordeaux cottage allow the Wrightsville Beach Museum to preserve this special building, but it also made it possible for the Museum to expand its programs, exhibits and other services to the community. The cottage allows our growing project, the Waterman Hall of Fame, to have a permanent home to celebrate water sports and professions that are so important to our community and celebrate those who make positive contributions to our way of life. This is an exciting time in the life of the museum as this cottage allows us to grow, providing outdoor teaching spaces and indoor experiential learning resources.