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How a Small New York Town Moved to Escape Total Destruction

New York City needed to expand its water system, it needed a new dam - the Croton Dam - and with it, a new reservoir. Unfortunately for the town of Katonah, it stood directly in the reservoir’s path…

The doom of Katonah is sealed. It was slated to be demolished.

But the residents of Katonah weren’t giving up their homes so easily. Instead of losing their town, they chose to move it…

They jacked up the houses and put them on rails lubricated with ordinary laundry soap. They then used horses to pull the houses along the tracks, stopping periodically along the way.

Many of the residents continued to live in their houses as they were being moved. Children would go off to school, return home, and find that their house would be in a different location.

A hundred years later, the village of Katonah still thrives, easily accessed today by train from New York’s Grand Central Station. It feels like a time warp to 1897.  As for old Katonah?  “If you go out in a rowboat onto the reservoir, you can go up onto the land and find the old foundations.”

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