Local and state officials gathered last Tuesday at the MGM casino construction site in Springfield, Massachusetts, to mark a notable milestone in the project - the relocation of the historic 129-year-old First Spiritualist Church.
The endeavor started after a press conference in the morning of April 19, 2016 (Tuesday) and finished at around five and a half hours later. It was a colossal undertaking that went well without any problems.
The 129-year-old First Spiritualist Church, originally built in 1887 as the French Congregational Church in Springfield (for the French-Canadian Huguenots), was relocated at exactly 200 yards from Bliss Street past the previous South End Community Center, and then through the MGM Springfield construction site to a place where it now stands on Union Street.
The company in charge of relocating (without destroying) the High Victorian Gothic style church was Wolfe House and Building Movers of Bernville, Pennsylvania. To get ready for the massive move, workers spent almost a month bracing the church's interior. To delicately lift the whole structure's foundation steadily and avoid damaging the masonry, a hydraulic jacking system was used. The church was then placed on a proprietary dolly equipped with remote-controlled coasters, and it was slowly rolled to its new spot.
Together, the church and dolly weighs approximately 500 tons.
The relocation project of the 68-by-43 foot church is a part of the historical preservation commitment of MGM to the city.
The casino's gaming area will be erected right where the church once stood.
The MGM Springfield casino is scheduled to open its doors to the public on September 2018, which covers about 14.5 acres in the South End, bearing a price tag of over $950 million.