Under the Covers

of San Francisco Relocated


Moving houses… 

Relocated neighborhoods… 

Small-time contractors turned movers… 

San Francisco Relocated covers San Francisco’s hidden moving history, from 1850-modern times! 

From buildings that moved across town on rollers and via horse or oxen team to a church move that led to an impromptu block party when it was left in the street mid-move over the weekend, San Francisco Relocated gathers the moving stories of house-movers, renters, homeowners, and City residents.

 Churches, school buildings, row houses and even monuments were relocated - some more than once.

  San Francisco Relocated adopts a visual history approach, using vintage black and white photos to cover these stories and provide insights on some of the ways City neighborhoods evolved and changed.

How San Francisco Relocated Was Born


Once upon a time there was a horse-crazy San Francisco girl who lived in a rental home in San Francisco’s Portola District, who dreamed of someday putting a horse or pony in her 3x3’ back yard – if only her parents would agree!



Such dreams required careful examination of the fencing and the potential horse-holding site; and because she was a curious soul, climbing said fence to peer into the neighbors' yards (in case there was a better location for The Horse) was part of the process.


Joseph Caruso was the kindly landlord who owned her house and the house in back of it; and because he was a do-it-yourself, hard-working kind of guy, he was often in the vacant lot directly in back of his rental property, hard at work weeding and caring for a small garden, his dog at his side.



And because he was kindly, Joseph Caruso not only indulged in a small girl's impossible dreams by patiently listening to her and agreeing with her that yes, horses were magical beasts; but he in turn shared with her some amazing stories of his small-time business buying up houses at auction and moving them onto the vacant lots he had purchased as investments over the years.


Moving houses! Nearly as good a topic as horses: such is the stuff that dreams are made of. And thus the girl learned that houses could be moved - and, indeed, that the house she lived in was also a magical house (even though it looked like any other San Francisco row house), moved by Mr. Caruso.


Decades passed, the girl grew up, and horses and moving houses became stories of the past - until a photo of horses moving a San Francisco Victorian building from 1908 (on the cover of The Horse in the City book) caught her eye.


Surely, she thought, there must be a book on the topic. There wasn't. There needed to be. And, it turned out, there was a LOT of information scattered on the Internet, in archives, in old newspapers, and most importantly, in the hearts, minds, and memories of house movers who generously shared with her their amazing stories.


And so, some fifty years after a horse-crazy girl and a kindly landlord made time for each other's dreams and adventures, San Francisco Relocated was born.


May it be the first in a series of amazing house-moving histories!