For the International Chimney Corporation, moving Richard and Jennifer Schifter’s Chappaquiddick home is a relatively small job compared to some of the other jobs the company has completed.
Besides chimney work, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based company specializes in building relocation and historic preservation, among other things, all over the world (the company just completed a chimney project in Thailand).
International Chimney’s previous relocation projects have included moving a firehouse in Cambridge and a Newark Airport terminal; the company has also moved several historic lighthouses up and down the East Coast, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Nauset Light and Block Island Light.
“Every building is unique,” company president Richard Lohr told the Gazette in a brief telephone interview this week. “We primarily just do the ones that are a little bit unusual and large,” he added.
By that standard, the Wasque project fits one of the criteria: it may not be large by International Chimney standards, but it is unusual in that it is new. “We’re normally moving 100-year-old houses or buildings out of the way of a highway expansion,” Mr. Lohr said. This also is not the first time the company has moved structures endangered by erosion. Mr. Lohr said all the lighthouses the company moved, as well as some houses, were threatened by a receding coastline.
The company’s website lists several honors, including a Most Unusual Move award in 2011 from the International Association of Structural Movers for the relocation of a peace mural in Lewiston, N.Y. In 1999, the company was included in the Guinness Book of World Records for a lighthouse moved the farthest distance, for moving the Cape Hatteras Light 2,900 feet from its previous location. And the Vineyard’s shifting sands might bring International Chimney Corporation to the other end of the Island, as well: the company is being considered for the impending relocation of the Gay Head Light in Aquinnah and has already served as a consultant on that project. The 1856 lighthouse will need to be moved in the next two years.