Historic church moves across NCCU campus

Posted April 21, 2010 7:01 p.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2010 1:25 p.m. EDT

— Holy Cross Catholic Church, the longtime home of one of the oldest African-American Catholic congregations in the state, was moved Friday across the campus of North Carolina Central University.

The building is being relocated from Alston Avenue to the corner of Fayetteville and Formosa streets to make room for the construction of a nursing school. In its new location, next to N.C. Central’s Shepard House, it will be used as meeting space for the university and the community.

"We're coming up on our 100th anniversary here, and it just fits beautifully with that," said Eric Frazier, N.C. Central's project manager overseeing the move. "I think it'll be a very nice touch for us."

The one-room church, which measures 70 feet by 35 feet, was lifted from its foundation earlier in the week and placed on a platform of steel beams for the move. Blake Moving Co. of Greensboro used 12 two-axle dollies, each of which has eight wheels and a hydraulic jack, to move the church.

"All of the dollies are self-propelled," said Mike Blake, owner of Blake Moving. "I stand there with a joystick (to control the dollies), and the building moves."

The process started at 5:30 a.m. Friday, but an equipment problem brought the move to a halt a few hours later until workers could repair the problem.

The move attracted a crowd of onlookers.

"We just thought it was an amazing opportunity for the kids," Durham resident Brandy Lemen said. "How often do you get to see a building this size being moved?"

The move was scheduled in two stages. On Friday, the Blake crew was to take the structure about a half-mile across campus to the corner of Nelson and Fayetteville streets. The final two-block move up Fayetteville Street to Formosa Street was to take place Saturday morning.

The move up Fayetteville Street will require utility crews to cut power to about a dozen nearby homes so power lines can be moved out of the way of the church, officials said.