Oldest house in Griffintown moved to a new home
The oldest house in Griffintown was moved into a new spot on Wednesday, but it won't be the final move for the Keegan House.
The Keegan home was built between 1825 and 1835 on Murray St. and was given to a Roman Catholic school teacher. It was then moved one block to McCord St. in 1865.
Over the years the name of the street changed, but the house remained -- until now.
Developer Maitre-Carré wanted to tear down the building in order to build new houses, but last year the city of Montreal refused permission to destroy the heritage building.
Instead the city ordered the developer to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that will incorporate the home.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that if we can preserve our heritage, well we have to do it,” said Hugo Girard-Beauchamp, the president of Maitre-Carré, adding that they did so in what the company considers to be an innovative fashion.
"I was a bit nervous to be honest. It's a very, very special operation. It was unusual, it's never been done in an area like Griffintown," he said.
"It's been done back in the day but there were never any wires, any cars, any traffic."
The move itself was not very far: just 300 metres. However traffic had to be delayed for a short time, and Hydro Quebec had to take down one wire that would otherwise have been ripped out by the building's roof. Trees and bushes were pruned and the house narrowly missed a lamppost.
The move took about an hour.
Now that the house has been moved, Girard-Beauchamp couldn't be happier.
"I'm relieved. It's done. The house is still there, so yes, it's a good operation."
The former home will be turned into a lobby for a new 14-storey residential project called the Brickfields, evoking the original name for the area close to a brick factory in Griffintown.
The Keegan house will remain in its current location for about a year and a half, until it is moved into its final location.
So much of Griffintown's past now lost, Southwest Borough Mayor Benoit Dorais was pleased.
“We didn't have to convince them to protect the house and it's a good point for us,” he said.