Preserving a Village Gem

By Alice Maggiore

March 26, 2012 Updated Mar 26, 2012 at 6:16 PM EDT

Greene, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Water's Edge Bed and Breakfast in Greene has been a village treasure since 1850. In the last five years, three floods have resulted in major updates. This September's was by far the worst.

The Chenango River is quiet now. But in September, water roared up nearly a foot and a half, tearing apart the first floor of Candace Harrington's home.

"There were people who said, 'Well isn't it time to walk away from it, and you know move away, and I just didn't feel I was at that point yet,'" says Candace Harrington, owner of The Water's Edge.

Harrington has lived at the bed and breakfast for 14 years, but the home has always been her favorite in the Village of Greene.

"It has a lot of historic significance and people think of it as a landmark," she says. "Somehow the fact that it has survived since 1850 made me think that we should do something to try to preserve it."

Harrington got a permit from the village, and hired a moving company, Drexheimer's, to lift the house 5 feet. The job took about 8 to 9 hours. They lifted the home in 8 inch increments.

"They were so efficient, there was not one crack in the house from them raising it," says John Maroney of Maroney Building and Drywall.
"It's a tremendous feat when you stop to think about it, this thing weighs with the steel under it, it's 275,000 pounds."

To make what's old sturdy and new again, cinder block replaces the original foundation.

"Because it's an old building it's not like doing a brand new structure, so we have to make changes and modifications as you go along," says Gene Rood, a Civil Structural Engineer who's been overseeing the process.

On Monday, crews are working to ease home into its base.

"It should come right down, very evenly," says Maroney. He anticipates the home to sit atop its new foundation by Monday evening.

Harrington hopes to move back May 1, inviting the community back Memorial Day weekend.

"...To be quite truthful, I have quite a few reservations for the month of June," she says. "Several of my repeat guests have wanted to be the first ones back."

Already, there are signs this "move" was meant to be.

"You can see the brave flowers sprouting right up in the midst of all of this construction work. So that's kind of hopeful too," says Harrington.

Sort of a "Welcome Home" mat for a village treasure.

Though Harrington says the porch will look a little different, she says she will maintain the character and charm Greene has come to associate with the Water's Edge.

There will be new floors, and new walls inside -- maybe even a flat-screen television.