Shortly after sunrise, Harvard Law School moved three Victorian houses down Massachusetts Avenue to make room for the new Northwest Corner complex. The largest of the three buildings — known informally as Ukrainian House because it used to house the Harvard University Ukrainian Research Institute — rolled from its location at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Jarvis Street at around 5 a.m. The other two buildings — Baker House and the carriage house — followed shortly after.
The houses were moved to make space on the HLS campus to build a major, new academic complex. Construction on the project will begin following the demolition of a concrete parking garage and the Wyeth Hall dormitory later this summer.
Hydraulic dollies were used to distribute the weight of the houses. At 200 tons and 57 feet wide, the Ukrainian House required 16 separate dollies, and it straddled the median as it moved the approximately 150 yards to its new location.
The houses were placed on a temporary resting spot at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Mellen Street until their permanent foundations are prepared. The buildings will be converted to student dormitories by summer 2008.
Originally built in the 1870s, the houses were most recently used as administrative offices for HLS and other University programs. Extensive measures were taken to move the houses because of their historic nature and importance as part of the façade of Massachusetts Avenue.
The move was completed without complication and it is possible that Massachusetts Avenue could reopen before the orginally scheduled time of 5 a.m. on Monday. City and state crews are restoring traffic lights, street lights and the overhead lines used to power MBTA buses.