This 300-ton house is stuck on a Downtown Boise street right next to a hospital

This story was revised Friday, May 10, 2019, with a new estimated date for completing the house’s move and a correction (see note at end of story).

Oh it’s a brick house, just lettin’ it all hang out.

With apologies to The Commodores, the Bishop Foote House is well put together, everybody knows. Now it’s hanging out for all to see on top of a trailer stuck on a Downtown Boise street.

The 4,000-square-foot house, named for a late Idaho Episcopal bishop who once led the St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center’s board, is one of several old houses being moved to make way for the hospital’s multiyear campus expansion.

First it was to have been moved Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28. But that was delayed. “As you can imagine, moving a 304-ton brick house is extremely complicated,” a St. Luke’s spokeswoman emailed after that delay.

The move was rescheduled to last weekend. The move began as planned, with crews successfully lifting the house at 121 W. Jefferson St., just west of the hospital, onto a trailer and towing it slowly east on Jefferson toward Avenue B on Saturday morning.

Then something went wrong. The trailer stopped right next to the hospital. “The Bishop Foote Guest House move is behind schedule due to several technical issues and necessary repairs,” spokeswoman Anita Kissee said in an email to news media shortly before 4:30 p.m. The move would resume once a replacement part was installed, she said.

Bishop Foote House stuck on Jefferson Streeet 5-6-19 IMG_3179 cropped.jpg
The 84-year-old Bishop Foote Guest House blocks both lanes of West Jefferson Street on Monday, next to St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center’s main hospital (out of the image at left).

It didn’t. Three hours later, Kissee emailed again.

“Unfortunately, due to several unexpected equipment malfunctions, and in the interest of what’s safest for the moving crew and the 304-ton historic home, the Bishop Foote House move has been suspended for this weekend,” she wrote. “The house moved east on Jefferson and stopped in what is probably the best possible location for now, as it is NOT blocking the ambulance entrance to the Emergency Department.”

The main entrance to the emergency room is on Bannock Street, one block south of Jefferson. Ambulances can reach a back entrance to the emergency room from a still-open segment of Jefferson next to Avenue B.

“There is agreement we did not want to have a breakdown the might impact Avenue B during the week,” she said.

Kissee at first said the move would be suspended, most likely until this Saturday, May 11. On Wednesday, May 8, the hospital changed that to Saturday, May 18, subject to further change. Meanwhile, curious hospital employees and other passersby are taking pictures.

Eventually the house will get moving again. Shaka gow shaka gow shaka now now.

The 1935 Bishop Foote Guest House at 121 W. Jefferson St., has served since 1973 as a guest home for adult patients who don’t need hospitalization and their caregivers. Eventually it will join the Fred Reiger House at its new location at Avenue B and Bannock Street. The Reiger House was moved last year from 214 E. Jefferson St.

The Rev. Norman Foote served as the bishop for the Episcopal Church in Idaho from 1957 to 1972. He was president of the hospital’s board of directors.

This story has been corrected. St. Luke’s Health System now says the Rev. Norman Foote did not live in the Bishop Foote Guest House on the campus of St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center after all.

“Thanks to Ret. Rev. Norman Foote’s granddaughter and a former neighbor, St. Luke’s has come to learn Bishop Foote did not live in the home that is being moved,” spokeswoman Anita Kissee said in an email to the Statesman. “He retired the year the house was purchased, and as an honor it was named after him. We are grateful folks took the time to share with us this clarifying information.”

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