USA: Transported Medieval Castles, Monasteries and other buildings

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
3,401
Reactions
11,676
Allegedly, in the early 1900s, America was so infatuated with the Medieval architecture, it had tens of castles, churches and monasteries moved from Europe to the United States. While the motivations behind moving buildings across the Atlantic Ocean may vary, one thing is certain, this is not the easiest thing to do. Just thinking about the steps involved makes me wonder of what was required to get something like that accomplished, as well as what resources (both human and tech) were required to get it done. What was there in the early 1900s, which could have prompted such unorthodox solutions?

St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church
St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church is a medieval Spanish monastery cloister which was built in the town of Sacramenia in Segovia, Spain, in the 12th century but dismantled in the 20th century and shipped to New York City in the United States. It was eventually reassembled at 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, Florida, where it is now an Episcopal church and tourist attraction called Ancient Spanish Monastery. It is the oldest European-built structure in the Western Hemisphere.

17839

The monastery's cloister and its outbuildings were illegally purchased and moved by William Randolph Hearst in 1925, despite Spanish government restrictions. In order to be transported to the United States, the structures were carefully dismantled, each piece was numbered and packaged in wooden crates lined with hay. The total shipment comprised 11,000 crates. However, some of the information contained in this labeling process was lost when the shipment was quarantined in the USA because of a break-out of hoof and mouth disease in Segovia. During the quarantine, the crates were opened and the hay filling was burned as a measure to prevent the spread of the disease. During the repackaging, the contents of the crates were not replaced correctly. William Randolph Hearst was ultimately unable to pursue his plan of rebuilding the monastery at San Simeon because of financial difficulties. The dismantled buildings were stored in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York until they were purchased in 1952 by Raymond Moss and William Edgemon, who eventually reassembled them on the site of a small plant nursery in northern Miami.

17838

Source: St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church - Wikipedia

St. Joan of Arc Chapel
St. Joan of Arc Chapel is a Roman Catholic chapel today located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, on the campus of Marquette University, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. It was dedicated to St. Joan of Arc on 26 May 1966, after it had been moved from its previous location on Long Island, New York, United States. It was originally built in the Rhône River Valley in France.


Originally named "Chapelle de St. Martin de Seyssuel", the chapel was built over several generations in the French village of Chasse-sur-Rhône, south of Lyon. It is estimated that it was erected around the 15th century. The building was abandoned after the French Revolution and fell into ruin. After World War I, the young architect Jacques Couëlle rediscovered the chapel and negotiated its transfer to the home of Gertrude Hill Gavin, the daughter of James J. Hill, best known as the founder of the Great Northern Railway, in Brookville, New York, United States. Couëlle went so far as to refer to the chapel as "ce monument absolument unique en son genre" (the most absolutely unique monument of its kind).
  • The chapel was shipped to New York in 1927 where it was reconstructed for Gertrude Hill Gavin, the new owner, by John Russell Pope. There it was attached to a French Renaissance chateau. Although the chateau burned down in 1962, the chapel was not damaged.
Source: St. Joan of Arc Chapel - Wikipedia

French Cloister at Versailles Gardens
French cloister is situated in the northern Bahamas, on Paradise Island. It is from a 14th century Augustinian monastery, dismantled and imported from Europe by William Randolph Hearst. Purchased while still in pieces from Hearst's estate by Huntington Hartford and reassembled stone by stone here as the centerpiece of the Versailles Gardens on Paradise Island. Overlooks Nassau Harbor to one side, and the One & Only Ocean Club resort to the other.

17844

Source: French Cloister at Versailles Gardens - Wikipedia
17841

KD: Anyways, I just wanted to see what the opinions were. I am not sure whether we move huge stone buildings around these days, may be we do. Yet, for the 1900s time frame, such solutions appear to be a bit strange. What was the purpose? Or may be what was the true purpose? Could it be done to explain the presence of some native structures?

17842

Links to consider:
To be honest, I am yet to see a truly huge building moved from Europe to America. Yet, even the observed ones had to weigh a whole lot. From various YouTube bloggers, I have heard that in the second half of the 19th century, it was somewhat of a common practice to move stone buildings from Europe the the United States.

Wanted to offer the community to identify by name the allegedly moved buildings. May be we could locate some ~ 100 year old photographs showing the process of disassembly/assembly of such buildings.

And in general, what do you all think about this practice?
 

whitewave

Well-known member
Messages
1,116
Reactions
3,286
I'd not heard of this practice. Seems like it would be easier and less expensive to just build your own castle. This disassembling, packing, loading, transporting, unpacking, reassembling seems awfully labor-intensive and couldn't have been cheaply done.
 

Moriarty

Active member
Messages
70
Reactions
216
Seems to me definitely a cover up for the presence of existing buildings. And much as KD says it would be interesting if anyone can come up with photos of the process. Reminds me very much of London Bridge being sold and transported across the pond. It always struck me as odd that someone would want an old bridge. I know the guy thought he was buying Tower Bridge (quite different and iconic) but what he ended up with was a tired old replica of the not-so iconic London Bridge. Odd

London Bridge Sold To An American, 45 Years Ago Today
 

truthseeker

New member
Messages
2
Reactions
7
17853

source 5 Historic Buildings That Moved Overseas

Traditionally Japanese temples are not allowed to be relocated outside of Japan. This temple is an exception because it was never assigned to a Buddhist priest to serve the local community. In 2004 the Hei-Sei-Ji temple was dismantled into more than 2400 pieces and shipped in 4 containers across the Pacific, up the Panama Canal and arrived in Charleston, South Carolina. Once the structure arrived in the United States it sat in the Tsuzuki family’s warehouse for almost four years until $400,000 was raised for the temple’s reconstruction.
Reconstruction began on April 1, 2008 and involved bringing a team of 7 wood specialists, 4 tile specialists, and 2 plaster specialists from Japan. The entire temple was rebuilt to its original state with the exception of a few ceiling tiles that were broken when it was disassembled. These ceiling tiles were remade and shipped from Japan. Most of the wood used in the temple is keyaki, a wood native to Japan. The temple is built without the use of a single nail. The intricately crafted tongue and groove joints that correspond with Japanese philosophy hold the temple together and create a unified simplicity. source: Hei-Sei-Ji temple | Furmanplaceofpeace's Blog

Now, look at the enormous cost and talent needed for a relatively small project. How could they possibly accomplish such feats on a far grander scale a century ago?
And for such modern times, not one single photo of disassembly or 4/K ultra dvd documentary of this project, at least that I could locate. Makes one wonder....
 

Spigy855

New member
Messages
3
Reactions
17
The first thing I thought of was London Bridge in Lake Havasu also. The other thing I thought about was the Aswan Dam. I think they moved 11 temples that would have been submerged after the dam finished. Four of the temples were moved out of the country to Berlin and New York.
 
OP
KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
3,401
Reactions
11,676
The first thing I thought of was London Bridge in Lake Havasu also. The other thing I thought about was the Aswan Dam. I think they moved 11 temples that would have been submerged after the dam finished. Four of the temples were moved out of the country to Berlin and New York.
That's an interesting one. It was moved from London to Arizona in 1967, huh?

London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was built in the 1830s and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England. It was dismantled in 1967 and relocated to Arizona. The Arizona bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry of the 1830s bridge, which was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch from the City of London. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge numbered and transported to America to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links an island in the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City.

Still in London: late 1800s
17912


In Arizona: 1970s
17911


Video

I think there is something else to these "relocations", but I have hard time putting my finger on it.

Interestingly enough, but before this London bridge was redesigned in the early 1800's, it looked something like this. By the way, apparently it was originally built prior to 1241.
The same bridge: 1200s
17914

London Bridge - Wikipedia
Made this bridge into its own thread: 1200s Old London Bridge: what do we know?
 

0harris0

Active member
Messages
112
Reactions
229
I've heard of this trend before, my nan used to live on a 1970s/80s housing estate, with a huge ornamental lake at the end of the street.. there was originally a mansion house there which had been dismantled and shipped to the States... wtf basically :ROFLMAO:
 

RowOfEleven

Member
Messages
24
Reactions
73
Same story for the oldest structure in the US, Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, built in the early 12th century and brought to North Miami, FL in 1923 by William Randolph Hearst. Pretty insane task to transport all of those blocks of stone over an ocean, but alas, that's the story.

"The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective hay, packed in more than 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States."

18762


18763


18764


18765


18766


18767


 
Last edited:

BrokenAgate

Well-known member
Messages
219
Reactions
671
I can't believe that any of those structures was dismantled, stone by stone, packed up like Christmas gifts, and then transported across the ocean to be reassembled. Maybe a smaller building, but some of those are enormous. The expense and complexities of taking apart a monstrously huge building that wasn't meant to be treated like a Lego project, must have been considerable. Other than this picture:

18986

How much evidence is there that these buildings were actually moved? Not surprised that no pictures were taken of these incredible feats. It's more likely that the buildings were in North America already and were excavated out of the mud. Then stories were invented of castles being taken apart, moved, and put back together in America in order to hide the fact that there was a thriving, intelligent civilization here at one time, and not just a bunch of Stone Age savages.
 

Plissken

Active member
Messages
38
Reactions
175
Hearst is weirdly attached to this movement of moving medieval buildings to America in the early 1900s. I toured Hearst Castle in my teen years and was fascinated by the story and the architecture. He moved buildings over to create Hearst Castle as well. Article on Robber Barons

And then I saw the Hearst Castle on the America's Castle series on A&E and I got hooked on that series. America's Castle YouTube Playlist. I remembered they talked about some these buildings being "moved" from Europe. All of the buildings in this series (over 90 episodes) are candidates for old civilization architecture. They do a Canadian version where they tour castles along the railroad from the east coast to the west coast too.

Hearst had an architecture oversee the move and "build" additional buildings on the site. According to Wikie, Julie Morgan was an architectural pioneer; "America's first truly independent female architect",[4] she was the first woman to study architecture at the School of Beaux-Arts in Paris. BEAUX-ARTS again. Is that the school where they learn to dig out and restore these buildings?

Anyway Hearst Castle

19002


190271900419015190181900819017

190031902419029190131901219011

189961899719001190051900919014

1900619000190161901019028

🔸🔸🔸
And a Zoo
1902619025


An indoor pool = Roman baths. They actually call it the Roman Pool. The outside one is the Neptune Pool.
190191899819007

I mean who really created this?
18999


These are only a few pictures of this so here are some More Hearst Pictures and More. And the usual links: Hearst Castle Org and Wiki

🔸🔸🔸

Plissken🐍
 

realitycheck

Member
Messages
18
Reactions
63
Well we know we are being lied to - I would say those building/structures were not moved and story about moving is just cover up to have explanation how these old european style structures are found where they are.

I can not accept in my sane mind that in so many cases someone would spend that much money and time - buy the structure, carefully disassemble structure marking every stone, ship all this over ocean and hope some parts don't get lost, then assemble all part by part again - just time involved to disassemble/mark every part and write down where it goes can be in years (let's remind ourselves that was done cca 100 year ago with technology then available) and then perfectly assemble structures like this - this would be almost lifetime assigment.

Especially (if going by official history) in same time you had architects and builders that were capable of designing and constructing wonders for all those Expo's in same/similar style - wouldn't it be cheaper and quicker to hire those people to make (this time permanent) replicas or custom structures based on your wishes and needs that look ancient?

If it was one case of crazy old billionaire who did something like that I would accept, but this many?
 

0harris0

Active member
Messages
112
Reactions
229
story about moving is just cover up to have explanation how these old european style structures are found where they are.
that doesn't account for where my nan used to live.. on the grounds of a once-extant mansion which had been boxed up and shipped to the states!

i think some of them could be lies, but i think there definitely was some building transportation... people went to insane lengths to do things back in the day!
 

realitycheck

Member
Messages
18
Reactions
63
that doesn't account for where my nan used to live.. on the grounds of a once-extant mansion which had been boxed up and shipped to the states!

i think some of them could be lies, but i think there definitely was some building transportation... people went to insane lengths to do things back in the day!
I stand corrected, they obviously did move some structures but nowadays I doubt everything official sources tell us... maybe some were moved to cover up for others that were present, maybe all were moved - maybe it was a rich people "thing" back in time and there is no hidden agenda...
 

jd755

Well-known member
Messages
366
Reactions
855
Try looking in local papers for such dismantling, packing, shipping, arrivals, unpacking, re-erecting tales. You could be at it a while and as for photo's as rare as hens teeth.
 

Top