November 19, 2014

House-moving day on Ocracoke


It’s moving day on Ocracoke.  House-moving day, that is.

Aaron and Rebecca Gallaher this year were given a historic home along Creek Road with the proviso that they’d move it to another island location.

After they prepared the house by dismantling an older section of it, the move began early on Wednesday morning after Bray’s House Moving of Camden rolled it onto the trailer bed, Aaron said.

“There were a lot of logistics to this,” he explained as the house was stopped in front of Blackbeard’s Lodge on Back Road while Tideland EMC crews raised up two of the many lines across streets the house traveled.

Those logistics included organizing the electric and cable companies and sheriff’s deputies to be on hand during the move, and getting all the permits.

The early-morning Ocracoke Coffee Company crowd was out by the street, along with some of the Ocracoke School classes, as the house rounded the curve on Back Road.

A cheer rose up as the house came into view.

“It’s like a parade,” said Jude Wheeler.

The portion of the house that was moved is a newer part built in the 1920s while the oldest part, built around the turn of the 20th century, was not moved since it has sustained irreparable damage over the years, Aaron said.  However, the couple will salvage as much of the oldest part as possible to rebuild that section in the new location.

When it is all complete by around Labor Day next year, the house will have three bedrooms and two and a half baths, Aaron said. 

Aaron, whose main job is as a bartender at Howard’s Pub, will do a lot of the work.  Becky is a teacher at Ocracoke School.

By 10 a.m., the move was complete and the house parked at its new location along Second Avenue.

“Stage one complete,” Becky said as the truck was turned off.

The next step today will be to jack the house up 12 feet then lower it to its final height of 10 feet off the ground, said Julian Bray, owner of the moving company.

On Friday, the pilings on which the house will stand, will arrive, Aaron said.

This wasn’t the most difficult house-moving job the company has done, Julian said.

“It went good,” he said as the crew took a break awaiting the arrival of the equipment to raise the house up. “The neighbor was outstanding and (Belhaven Cable) and Tideland did a nice job.”  Bray had to back the house over the yard of a house owned by Dick Tunnell of Swan Quarter.

Bray, standing with Carl O’Neal, who will do the foundation work, said the last buildings he recalled moving on Ocracoke were two in the mid-1990s for Wayne Clark, who owns Edwards of Ocracoke.

The Gallaher’s house is 900 square feet, Bray said, but recently his company moved a 4,000 square-foot house in Corolla.  That took five working days; the Gallaher’s house will take three days.

Bray said his company mostly raises houses up off the ground, most recently raising a home owned by Kenny Ballance along Back Road.


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