Unconventional Method Saves Historic Hotel: 220-ton Elmwood building relocated using 700 bars of soap, showcasing innovative problem-solving techniques in construction.
In a unique and unconventional move, a historic landmark, the Elmwood building in Halifax, Nova Scotia, faced with the threat of demolition in 2018, found a new lease on life through a rather unexpected method – 700 bars of soap.
Originally established in 1826 as a residence, the Elmwood transitioned into the Victorian-era Elmwood Hotel in 1896. Its demolition seemed imminent until Galaxy Properties, a real estate company, stepped in, determined to save the building from destruction. Their vision involved relocating the structure closer to the street and connecting it to an upcoming apartment complex.
The mammoth task of moving this 220-tonne architectural gem fell into the hands of the S. Rushton Construction firm. Captured in a fascinating time-lapse video shared on social media, the crew’s inventive strategy was unveiled.
Sheldon Rushton, the company owner, disclosed that they used 700 bars of Ivory soap, substituting traditional rollers, to facilitate the building’s smooth movement across a steel frame. This soft soap, when combined with the gentle force of two excavators and a tow truck, allowed the Elmwood to glide nearly 30 feet to its new location.
Describing the maneuver as smooth as the soap used, the construction company humorously mentioned on their Facebook page, “The historic Elmwood hotel in South End Halifax made its first journey in almost 200 years, but not its last.”
The relocation to its interim spot is temporary. The Elmwood building is slated to be moved again once its new foundation is ready, highlighting the conscientious efforts invested in preserving this historic structure for posterity.