The 10 Heaviest Buildings Ever Moved


The Shubert Theater (2,908 Tons)

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The oldest existing theater in Minneapolis, Minn., has been many things since it opened in 1910. It was a vaudeville stage that attracted the likes of Mae West and the Marx Brothers, a burlesque theater, a movie theater and even an evangelistic auditorium. But it became something else in January 1999: a world-record holder.

The theater had been closed for several years when the city of Minneapolis decided it wanted to redevelop the block on which the Shubert was standing. Artspace, a nonprofit development agency, bought the building from the city and hatched plans to move it one block over.

Though the move was only one-quarter of a mile, it took five bulldozers 12 days to complete the trek. Helping out the bulldozers were 100 hydraulic jacks that lifted the building and 70 dollies that formed a temporary foundation for the journey through the city streets.

Artspace conducted research to determine how a redesigned Shubert could best serve Minneapolis, and gained fundraising from private supporters and the state legislature. The restored Shubert Center, which features a midsize performing arts theater as well as classrooms for arts education, opened in 2008 [source: LeFevre].

Read on to find out how a turn-of-the-century hotel beat the Shubert's record.