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Indiana Bell Building Move


2006 paulf.  All rights reserved.
(What's this copyright notice?)

From the Bell Telephone Quarterly, January 1931 -- "Moving the Indianapolis Telephone Building."

After extensive study,  it was determined that the best use of the site and existing assets would be to move the existing headquarters building to the back corner of the lot, and build a new building fronting on Meridian Street.

The eight story steel-frame and brick building measured about 100 x 135 feet and weighed about 11,000 tons.

The entire process took about a month.

During the move, work continued in all areas above the basement.  They had to install safety stops in the elevator shafts to make sure travel to the basement was no longer possible.  Functions included administration, business offices and toll equipment.  Local exchange equipment was in the building at the back left of the photos.

All utility cables and pipes serving the building had to be lengthened and made flexible to provide continuous service during the move.  (Electric, phone, gas, water, sewer and steam.) 

A moveable concrete and steel bridge connected the vestibule to a covered walkway.  This permitted employees and the public to enter and leave at any time while the move was in progress.  (Imagine trying to get permits to do that today!)

The straight line move used manually operated jack screws.  Each was operated by a team of men that turned handles through an arc of 90 degrees six times in about 30 seconds, and then they rested 30 seconds (!).  Each operation moved the load about 3/8 of an inch.

The pivoting operation was accomplished with the aid of cables attached to a stationary steam engine.

Find a video presentation including additional photos from the article and an animation made from these photos,
visit the TCI YouTube Channel, TCI PhoneVideos


Move part 1

Move part 2

The following photos show the evolution of the site after the move.

First, a new building was completed at 240 N. Meridian in 1933.  The old building can be seen in the back of the lot.

New building 1933

By 1968, the moved building had been demolished and replaced.
The addition made the combined building 20 stories tall.

Expansion 1968

By 1975, the headquarters had moved to a new "modern" building at 220 N.Meridian,
which was connected with 240 N. Meridian.

New building 1975

Bottom 3 images courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, San Antonio, TX.

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2006 paulf.  All rights reserved.