SCHENECTADY — A process years in the making took a big step up Tuesday — roughly 10 feet up, to be exact.
The home at 4 Washington Ave. in the Stockade was raised off its foundation as crews prepared to move it to higher ground in coming days and weeks. Supports were installed under the house, steadily lifting it off the ground until it sat about 10 feet above its foundation.
“At long last,” said Meredith Anker, who owns the home, as she watched the work Tuesday.
The building has flooded twice in recent decades: once after a thaw in January 1996 and again when tropical storms battered the region in 2011. Rather than sell the house, Anker sought to elevate it.
Anker, 72, approached the Schenectady Historic District Commission in 2015 with a proposal to do just that. After five project reviews, she finally received approval to shift the home.
That process was begun — then stalled — in recent weeks. Workers dug up the perimeter in July, but a delay in disconnecting a gas line and equipment delays held up further progress until Tuesday, when the home steadily began rising into the air.
Schuylerville-based Larmon House Movers arrived Tuesday morning and began elevating the structure — 16 inches at a time. Each incremental elevation, which involved hydraulic lifts and the stacking of wooden and metal supports beneath the home's corners, took about 45 minutes.
Neighbors and passing cars stopped to take in the spectacle. Anker began chatting with crew members at one point, telling them how amazed she was at the mechanics of the project.
The house, which dates to the early 1800s, has had multiple additions over the years, project contractor Garrett Plowman said. That resulted in some complications as the structure was lifted. For example, a chimney that was not part of the original structure began to tip away from the home, forcing crews to secure it with a cable, he said.
The moving crew has another job in the area later this week, so Plowman expects the building to be moved to a temporary resting place sometime next week, while its new foundation is prepared — about 15 feet farther from the street and 20 feet farther from the Mohawk River than the home's previous location.
The new resting place will also be about 7.5 feet higher than the previous elevation. Fill material will help create a sloped incline to the front door from the street.
Crews were still assessing how best to move the home, Plowman said. For now, it is resting on large steel beams and the added supports, but it will eventually be put on either wheels or other beams for the move itself.
In the meantime, Anker is staying in Lake Luzerne, eagerly awaiting the completion of her newly situated residence in Schenectady.
“I just want to not be anxious every time the river rises,” she said.