Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving Manmade Mountains

Peter Dietrich Friesen, pictured at top with Tom Rowley, was the engineer behind the move of the 3.3 million pound Oneida Stake Academy in 2003.

Friesen was in his 80s when the academy was moved. He came to the project having a lifetime of experience moving huge buildings, including the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

He invented the unified jacking system which was employed to move the academy 2.5 blocks from its original location to Benson Park in Preston, Idaho.

The academy was gently, almost imperceptibly moved upward until 41 jacks with eight wheels apiece, could be placed beneath the 1,650 ton stone building. Each of those jacks was controlled remotely by a control panel, pictured below. Pete coached the controller as he drove the academy out of its original location and down the street.

In the next picture, Pete oversees the placement of blocking used to compensate for the slope in the road where the jacks couldn't stretch far enough to keep the building as level as possible during the move.

 Tom Rowley, a Franklin County native and building mover himself, pictured in the top photo with Friesen, is presenting the International Mover's Association Hall of Fame Award to Friesen in the 1980s. Rowley was also a great help in moving the academy to its new location.

While in Preston, Friesen took time to speak to the students of Preston High School, explaining not only how the academy would be moved, but how he came up with the ideas used  for moving such large structures. He emphasized the importance of visualizing one's success, and of thinking through problems.

He immigrated to Canada as a child with his parents from Russia following the revolution at the turn of the 19th Century. (See more on his life at http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/friesen_peter_dietrich_201cpete201d_192220132009

Friesen died earlier this year from natural causes due to age and is greatly missed.  He shared his appreciation of the Oneida Stake Academy in a documentary written on his life. More information on the movie can be found at www.petethemovie.com

Friesen moved four buildings that are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. For more information, see the following link: http://science.howstuffworks.com/heaviest-building-moved.htm/printable

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