Historic Newport home relocated for expansion project

The Congdon House, Newport

A lot of visitors come to Newport to crane their necks and take pictures of the historic attractions.

But on Tuesday morning, even the locals were stepping outside for a look at this house.

"I've never seen anything like it. It's kind of a like a real life 'Wizard of Oz,'" said Lindsey Kurowski of Newport.

Memorial Boulevard was shut down to relocate The Congdon House from Hayden Court to Rhode Island Avenue to make way for a major expansion project at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The house, which was built in 1856, was moved 850 feet.

"Anything we can do to preserve Newport and Rhode Island, we're for that," said Mark Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame purchased the land the home sat on as a part of a $16 million expansion that includes new tennis courts and an upgraded museum.

"About two years ago, we decided instead of demolishing the house, because it is historic...that we'd find another home for it," Stenning said.

The Congdon House, which weighs 120 tons, cost the Hall of Fame $200,000 to relocate. It will be turned into apartments down the street, which made the locals happy.

"I think they should preserve as much as they can of the history of Newport," said Bob Coe, of Newport.

"Newport goes out of their way to protect that kind of stuff. It's rad," Kurowski said.