Not the First Massive Move for Gonzaga University
The historic 840,000-pound Huetter (Huh-ter) Mansion, located a stone’s throw from Gonzaga University’s College Hall, has been a fixture at the northwest corner of Sharp Avenue and Addison Street for more than a century. Beginning Wednesday morning (July 23), however, a complicated process will begin to move the former Bishop White Seminary to the northeast corner of Sharp and Addison. It’s a move of only 120 feet to the east across Addison Street yet only time will tell how long it will take to coax this 420-ton monolith to its new site.
Suffice to say, it will not be a 40-yard dash.
The structure, which has served as the Bishop White Seminary for more than 51 years at 429 E. Sharp Ave. will undergo final preparations for its journey Wednesday morning. Gonzaga plant department officials note there will be a total of 96 wheels attached to 12 dollies straining under the load of the mansion and a temporary framework of wood and steel to hold the structure in place for its 40-yard odyssey. The mansion will be moved to the hole where it will reside. Before it rests, however, a foundation must be built up around the structure to support its gargantuan girth.
The mansion was originally constructed by John Huetter as a private residence. Gonzaga construction officials believe the house was built in approximately 1897. Huetter, a contractor, worked on several of Gonzaga’s early construction projects, including the Administration Building (now known as College Hall). Since 1956 the structure has served as the residence and training center for Catholic seminarians pursuing their undergraduate studies at Gonzaga.
The Catholic Diocese of Spokane has donated the building to Gonzaga, which will likely use the structure for University Relations activities. The total cost of the move and its realignment is estimated at roughly $500,000. The other structures that made up the seminary have been razed. Bishop White and its seminarians have moved to temporary quarters pending construction of a new diocesan seminary – at the same location at 429 E. Sharp Ave. – by approximately spring 2009.
Gonzaga undertook a similarly massive move in 1900 – near when the Huetter Mansion was built – when the original Gonzaga building, all 2.5 million pounds of it, was moved 500 feet from 300 E. Boone Ave., near the current site of Knights of Columbus, to a site near where the Jesuit House sits south of St. Aloysius Church.
That move cost approximately $6,000, plus another $2,500 for a new foundation, and it took two months to complete with eight horses and a winch. The site of the original college was too close to the train tracks, creating noise and air pollution. That building was used to house Jesuit scholastics until 1963 when it was razed to build Jesuit House.
Catlow Structural Lifting in the Spokane Valley has taken on this formidable task.
For more information, contact Dale Goodwin, director of public relations at Gonzaga, at (509) 313-6133.