When mules moved a York County mansion

Memorial Hospital’s Elmwood Mansion has not always been at its current site near Interstate 83 in Spring Garden Township.
It originally stood about where Memorial Hospital now stands.
Ann Small Niess, whose family owned the house for decades, is writing a detailed account of the house from when it was constructed in the early 1800s to when she last lived there in 1947 and through its renovation by Memorial Hospital.
But she has a research problem… .


She hasn’t been able to find newspaper coverage of the house’s relocation.
That mule-powered move atop greased logs took place in 1905 or 1906, and that’s a lot of newspaper microfilm to scroll through.
Chances are, more than one photo or story was written on the move, which took place over several months.
An initial search through Heritage Trust files found no sought-after newspaper clippings. Anyone out there have any information on the house as it was being moved? Just give us a reply.
Here are excerpts from Ann’s recent letter:

My family was living in the house in 1905 when they had a series of fires in the conclave surrounding the house — first the mill, then the creamery, and finally the big barn. My widowed grandmother (Mrs. John Henry McKinnon Small) refused to live there any longer and as a result the family had a house mover from Philadelphia come in and actually move the house. This move could have taken place in 1905 or 1906.
The whole house was literally moved for two city blocks from its original location on to a new foundation at its present location on Elmwood Blvd. I have very little information about the whole event. It was so notable as the house was dragged over rosined logs by mule team power.
My Aunt Kitty (Catherine Small Keesey) told me the whole town came to watch the operation, and that it was publicized in the local newspaper at the time.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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One Response to When mules moved a York County mansion

  1. marcus wilder says:

    really need a photo of a mule moving a house. let me know how i can attain one.

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