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January 2, 2018 > Historic house moves down the street

Historic house moves down the street

Submitted By Al Minard

Perhaps few people today are aware of the contributions of J. Vernon ÔPopÕ Goold (1897-1989) to FremontÕs history, but he was, in his day, a well-loved and active member of the community. Goold began his career in earnest in the mid-1920s at Washington Union High School teaching physical education. He was named Assistant Dean around 1928 and by 1942 had become both principal of WUHS and Superintendent of the school district.

Most significantly he was highly successful campaigning for bond issues that resulted in five new high schools (at a time when there was only one).

Goold often spoke to P.T.A. groups, the Dads-Sons Club, the Kiwanis Club, the Boy Scouts, and more. He was co-chairman of the local March of Dimes campaign and active in Alameda County school politics. After retirement, Goold remained active in education and civic affairs. In 1962, he was appointed to the Juvenile Justice Commission of Alameda County, a position he held for twenty years. He was on the Board of Directors of the Centerville BusinessmenÕs Association, served as secretary to the Retired Teachers Association of Southern Alameda County, and was active in the LionÕs Club.

GooldÕs residence of 57 years (1932-1989) at 3498 Peralta was considered for inclusion in the California Registry of Historic Resources (CRHR), and, because Goold himself was a significant person for his leadership, a property long associated with him, as the Peralta house was, satisfied part of the CRHRÕs criteria. However, significant remodeling in 2003 was deemed to have destroyed the design integrity of the house, disqualifying it from inclusion. For the same reason, it was not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or the Fremont Register.

When Nuvera Homes chose to build at the site, the company wanted to be a good neighbor and demonstrate its appreciation of the areaÕs history. Even though the house did not qualify for protections it would have had as a listed CRHR property, the company offered to relocate the Goold house at their cost. At the same time, the representative of a family trust (ÒLindaÓ) owning a lot down the street announced interest in providing the house a new home.

In order to move the house, there first had to be a foundation and utilities on the new lot. Initial estimates put the cost at about $100,000, but Nuvera stepped in and found a contractor who would do quality work for less. After approaching several banks and lenders the loan was secured. Still, there were permits to be pulled.

The first was from the City of Fremont Planning Department affirming that the house would fit the lot and stand up to code. Then, because Peralta Boulevard is part of California Highway 84, permits were required from CalTrans and the California Highway Patrol to close the road for moving day. The permits were approved, but only after a six month wait. Next, a tree that covered a portion of the road had to be trimmed and, of course, required another permit.

Tree trimmers came outÉ and trimmed the wrong tree. Undaunted, on Monday morning, December 11, 2017, Fisher Brothers hooked their truck up to three dollies under the house in preparation for the 500-foot move, even as more trouble loomed in the form of nearby power poles and a very large tree. Across the street hung utility cables 16 feet from the roadway, while the peak of the house measured 24 feet. Work stopped while an AT&T work crew raised the cables with a special clamp. Owing to the orientation of the house and the new lot, Fisher Brothers had to push the house in from the front. A tree blocked the path so a worker with a chainsaw had to be hoisted in a bucket lift to prune it.

With the house directly over the new foundation, the house movers put hydraulic jacks under the house and raised it to remove the dollies. They then used cribbing stacks to set the house down, perfectly level. The men worked almost silently, as if an industrial ballet were being performed to the sound of diesel engines.

By 3 p.m., the Fisher Brothers crew had packed up their gear, the house now in location and levelÑjust a little higher than its final height so the foundation could be poured. Finally, the house was lowered to its new home.

A big thank you to all the people that made this happen. Incidentally, Fisher Brothers has said those were the most hours spent on a move that short.

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