When a building isn’t the right size for what we need, we have some choices. We can add onto it, we can knock it down and build a new one, or we can just move to another building. But sometimes people get fancier than that. In 1930 the Indiana Bell Telephone Company bought a big office building that wasn’t quite right. But instead of knocking it down, they moved it. They jacked up the 8-story, 11,000-ton building and used rollers to move it 52 whole feet and turn it to face another direction. It took almost a month since the building moved so slowly, about 15 inches per hour. Fortunately, it moved so slowly that the company could keep using the building during the move: people could walk in and out, work at their desks, and even use the bathrooms (and the phones!). This has been done to other buildings, too, and it takes a lot of planning. But the company saved a grand old building, and people had some extra excitement while going to the bathroom.
Wee ones: Which has more floors, this 8-story office building or a 3-story house?
Little kids: If your house moved 3 feet this month and 3 feet next month, how far would it have moved? Bonus: The phone company then added to the 8-story building after moving it. If they’d added 3 new stories on top, how many stories would it have had in total?
Big kids: If you lay down on the sidewalk, how many hours would the building have taken to move from your toes past the top of your head? (You may round up.) Bonus: How many pounds is11,000 tons, anyway? (Reminder: 1 ton is 2,000 pounds.)
Wee ones: The office building.
Little kids: 6 feet. Bonus: 11 stories.
Big kids: Different for everyone…see how many 15s you can add together to reach your height in inches. Bonus: 22,000,000 pounds — that’s 22 million!