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Historic Case House crosses Youngs Avenue en route to Cleo’s Corner

The historic Lieutenant Moses Case House inched closer to its new location at the southwest corner of Horton’s Lane and County Road 48. The 1700s-era home was transported across Youngs Avenue Friday on its way to Cleo’s Corner where it will be restored and turned into living space for participants of the Peconic Land Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative.

Crossing the road was phase two of the multi-step relocation project the Peconic Land Trust embarked on last year to preserve a piece of Southold’s pre-Revolutionary heritage from demolition.

“This is the pinnacle here to cross this first road,” said Dan Heston, senior manager of agricultural programs at the Peconic Land Trust said Friday morning. “We have been working for this day for a long time.”

Crews from PSEG, Optimum and Verizon gathered at the site just north of Charnews Farm around 8:30 a.m. to slowly lift and lower four utility wires to make a path for the Case House. Just before 10:30 a.m., the team from Dawn Movers glided the house across the road on a hydraulic dolly to the delight of Peconic Land Trust staff who had braved the 17-degree temperature to witness the move.

“It is a great project because it ticks so many boxes for the Peconic Land Trust,” said Peconic Land Trust project manager Holly Sanford while gripping hand warmers. “This is a preservation and conservation project to restore a local part of our architecture and character while perpetuating the local farming industry.”

Crews needed to temporary move the utility wires so the house could be moved. (Credit: Cyndi Zaweski)

On Sunday, Ms. Sanford said, “This is a preservation and conservation effort. By saving the Lt. Moses Case house we are protecting local architecture, our history and Long Island’s farming industry.”

The freezing temperatures made for cold hands but solid ground, said Stan Kazel, co-owner of Dawn Movers. “The weather is working in our favor. The ground is hard and it keeps the house from sinking.”

This is the second time the Peconic Land Trust has moved a historic home. The first was a 1930s farmhouse in Sagaponack that was relocated in 2011 also with the help of Dawn Movers. Sid Beebe of Sid Beebe & Sons Builders and architect John Cunniffe of Cunniffe Architects are also a part of the historic restoration team for the Case House.

The Case House was donated by Jemcap SD, LLC to the Land Trust last year on the condition of it being moved from its original site farther east on Route 48. The Land Trust owns nearly 100 acres of land both north and south of Route 48, which is leased to new and existing farm operations. The relocation and subsequent restoration will re-establish a farmstead at Cleo’s Corner, on five acres of protected farmland already owned by the Land Trust.

In January, a new foundation was poured to support the Case House at Cleo’s Corner. The house was then transported through vacant field before crossings its first road Friday. The next phase will be to move the home across Horton’s Lane to its final destination. The relocation effort is expected to be completed this month.

The home will then be restored and turned into a residence for students of the Farms for the Future initiative, a five-year program that aims to protect the future of farming on Long Island by encouraging young people to get involved. Depending on funding, the hope is to finish the home in 2020.

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Photo caption: The Case House was lifted across Youngs Ave. Friday, closing the road to traffic. (Cyndi Zaweski photo)