Julia and Ulysses S. Grant Home's second floor separated in preparation for move

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A colorized postcard from 1910 shows a two story home that has been tinted pink.

Julia and Ulysses S. Grant home's second floor separated in preparation for move

On Monday, July 7, a work crew successfully separated the second floor of the Julia and Ulysses S. Grant home in final preparations for the move from the former Michigan State Fairgrounds to Detroit’s Eastern Market.

The bifurcation will make the 15+ mile move safer and more efficient, as fewer traffic signals and overhead cables will need to be temporarily removed.

A crane lifts the second story of a home and prepares to set it down next to the first story.

A crane lifts the second story off the Grant Home. Credit: David Tobar

Watch a six second time lapse video of the separation.

Site prep for the separation began last October, when a work crew from Integrity Building Group, the project general contractor, and D&B Movers installed two steel beams under the second floor joists and added cribbing to stabilize the home. During site prep in May, the work crew removed the clapboard siding at the separation point and cut most of the studs in the interior and exterior framing.

Two rows of clapboard siding are removed halfway up the side of a two story white house

Final cutting and prepartion takes place on the home prior to separation. Credit: David Tobar

The separation took approximately 5 hours, which consisted mainly of thorough and safe preparation and inspection. The actual lift took approximately 15 minutes.

In preparation, workers inside the home finished cutting the remaining structural supports and punched four holes in the roof. The crane operator lifted a large rectangular frame over the roof, where workman grabbed the cables dangling from its four corners and secured them to the steel beams inside the house.

A man pops out of a hole in the roof and grabs cables extending down from a crane.

Workers insode the home grab and secure the cables for the lift. Credit: David Tobar

Once all preparations were complete, the crane slowly lifted the second story and placed it next to the first on a temporary foundation.

The home will remain at the former state fairgrounds site while final preparation is completed at the Eastern Market location.

In early June, construction crews began to prepare the home's foundation at the corner of Orleans and Wilkins Streets in Detroit’s Eastern Market. The concrete footings were poured in mid-June, and will need to cure until the end of July 2020 before they can support the full foundation and the home.

Construction workers pour concrete from a truck shoot into wooden frames.

Workers pour the foundation footings. Credit: Laura Raisch

Meanwhile, project partners are in final planning with the City of Detroit on the route and logistics for the move. A final move date has yet to be set, but is expected to take place in late July or early August 2020.

A grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority is funding the preparation and move. However, more than $500,000 in additional funding is needed to rehabilitate and reopen the home as a public education and resource center based on the lives and legacies of Julia and Ulysses S. Grant.

Visit our project website at GrantHomeDetroit.org to make a donation and to learn more about the project and the Grant’s time in Detroit.

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