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4
A Hotel

We're not exactly sure how much the Brighton Beach Hotel weighed when it was moved in 1888, but we'll go out on a limb and assume that San Jose's Hotel Montgomery, which was built in 1911, is a whole lot heavier. It's four stories tall -- a story higher than the one in Brighton Beach -- and featured a restaurant, a ballroom, and two dining rooms to go with its 142 rooms. It also was the first hotel in its area to be built with reinforced concrete to make it resistant to both fire and earthquakes.

While the original Montgomery was pretty grand in its day, over the decades it declined in elegance and fell into a state of disrepair. In 1989, after plans were made to build a fancy new hotel on its site, San Jose officials decided to relocate the historic structure instead of demolishing it. The Montgomery, which weighed an estimated 4,800 tons (4,354 metric tons), was jacked up so that specially-designed, remote-controlled, rubber-wheeled cars could be slid beneath it. Then the entire structure was moved 186 feet (56.6 meters) away to its present location. That might sound like an ordeal, but the $8.5 million cost of moving the hotel was a lot less than the cost of building a comparable structure. Another $4.5 million was spent to retrofit the Montgomery to make it even more resilient in the event of an earthquake [source: Joie de Vivre Hospitality].

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