Salt Lake City's Odd Fellows Hall, with its all-seeing eye perched above the main door, had not attracted much public attention, until it up and moved across the street.
The project began in 1996 as the need for expansion of the Federal Courthouse arose. Through consultation between the building's owner, the U.S. General Services Administration, federal court judges, and preservationists, it was determined that instead of demolishing Odd Fellows Hall, the building would be saved by moving it across the street. The GSA worked closely with preservationists for more than a decade to make an idea reality. When the project began, crews took special precautions against collapse by adding steel structural beams to ensure safe transport. Using a latticework of steel beams and jacks, construction crews have lifted the 117-year-old, five million-pound building eleven feet off its foundation in preparation for its move across the street. The building was first rotated 180°, then pushed across the street, and lowered onto its new foundation. Easy as that right?
Once the GSA completed their task of moving, it took someone with an appreciation for the building, a great vision, and a knack for historic buildings to take it from there. The Odd Fellows Group, headed by The Dennis Group, LLC purchased the building to rehabilitate into their offices. They immediately began to seismically reinforce the structure with every precaution taken to maintain the true character of the building. The interior office space has been laid out to show the vertical breadth and the dramatic windows that were part of the original design. Interior spaces are broken up by glass walls to further open up the interior space and let in the natural light.
Odd Fellows Hall is a remarkable combination of historic preservation and engineering, and persistence and cooperation to preserve a marvelous piece of historic architecture in downtown Salt Lake City.