An 11,000-ton building in Indiana was rotated 90 degrees while workers were still working inside. From October 12 to November 14, 1930, a building in Indianapolis, Indiana rotated 90 degrees without interruption to gas, heat, electricity, water, sewer, or telephone.
The latter was very important, as the Indiana Bell building was the home of the Indiana Bell Telephone Company. The building was constructed in 1907 for the Central Union Telephone Companyhowever later became the headquarters and manual telephone exchange for the Indiana Bell Telephone Company.
When it was suggested that building needed an upgrade in size, architect Bernard Vonnegut I’s son, Kurt Vonnegut Senior, suggested simply moving the building to make room for a larger building.
Why did it have to be moved and not demolished?
THE demolition of the building would result in the interruption of the company’s services, which were vital for the functioning of the city. So, it was decided to simply move the building. However, the question remained as to how this could be done, especially with 600 employees able to work normally inside the building.
Worth mentioning is that the 8-story building weighed 11,000 tons.
How did the rotation happen?
To ensure that Indiana Bell Telephone Company workers could continue to operate the telephone lines and keep the city running, the building’s pipes and cables were lengthened and made more flexible.
The building was lifted with jacks and placed on rollersbefore slowly drifting 16 meters south, rotating 30 degrees and then moving 30 meters west – this was repeated until it had turned a total of 90 degrees.
The project took four weeks to complete and is still regarded as a monumental success. Not a single day was there a drop in telephone service and the workers were not forced to stop work for a single moment.
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