Lafayette College Hill House Move

The historic stone building located at 517 Clinton Terrace in Easton, PA has stood at the edge of Lafayette College’s campus for 100+ years. With expansion on the horizon and plans for a new dormitory threatening the existence of the home, the decision was made to preserve the house because of its historic value to the community and the college’s commitment to historic preservation.

So how do you preserve a house that sits in the path of a brand new 175-bed dorm? Well, you move it of course.

On August 4th, 2021, the 330-ton structure was moved roughly one block from 517 Clinton Terrace to 41 McCartney Street in Easton, PA. Thanks to careful planning and execution of the of Pennoni and our project partners, the process took a few short hours and involved raising the house with hydraulic jacks and moving it slowly with a series of rigs.

At its new home on McCartney Street, the building will house the Portlock Black Cultural Center. The center was founded in 1970 by former Academic Dean David A. Portlock and supports the educational and social experiences of students of African, Latino, Asian and Native American descent, as well as the LGBTQIA+ population. Renovations are expected to be completed in 2022 and include adding a functional basement and porch. The building will also have a residential space for three students, a full kitchen, office, and programming area.

Pennoni contributed several services to the success of this project including the civil/site, survey, structural engineering for the new cultural center, geotechnical engineering for the foundation of the center at its new location and a transportation component that included the traffic impact analysis. In addition to services provided, Pennoni supported the college, Alma Architects, and the contractor, Del Valley Properties Inc. and Aegis Property Group as project manager, as well as W.A. Building Movers, a full-service home elevation and heavy construction group that physically moved the house.

Jim Illigash, PLA, LEED AP BD & C, served as the project manager for the land development elements of the project and was responsible for the coordination with the City of Easton, PA. Keith Weitknecht, PE, was the project manager for the structural engineering components within the project.

To relive the day through a timelapse video of the move, see more in this video here One block, seven hours, 330 tons: Lafayette College moves an Easton house – YouTube.


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