A historic Massachusetts church began slowly rolling down the street Tuesday to make room for a nearly $1 billion casino.
After weeks of grueling preparation, Wolfe House and Building Movers started moving the 129-year-old Springfield house of worship, First Spiritualist Church, two blocks down the road, where it will stand next to a skating rink and within the MGM Springfield casino's 14-acre footprint, the Associated Press reported.
The First Spiritualist Church has arrived at its new home. pic.twitter.com/GxJBIUK542— MGM Springfield (@MGMSpringfield) April 19, 2016
"I think if you look at the definition now of Holy Roller, that might fit the bill right there," Mayor Domenic Sarno said as the church slowly rolled along behind him.
The 475-ton church features a 68-foot tower and measures out to 68 feet by 43 feet. Movers jacked the building and placed it on multiple wheeled-dollies in order to smoothly move the church to its new home.
The relocation project is part of MGM's commitment to preserve Springfield's historic landmarks. The $950 million resort-casino is expected to open in the fall of 2018, where the casino floor will stand in the same place the church once did.
"Today's church relocation marks an exciting milestone for this project," Brian Packer, MGM Springfield vice president of construction and development, said.
The church, first named the Congressional French Church, was originally built in 1887 for the French-Canadian Huguenots, who worked in the Smith and Wesson gun plant, and is known for its high Victorian Gothic structure.
In fact, Daniel Wesson, one of the gun company's founders, was a major sponsor of the church. However, the Protestant congregation eventually gave the church up because of decreasing membership, and it was sold to the First Spiritualist Society in 1919.
The church has been vacant, though, since 2013, when the Spiritualists moved to a new location in a nearby city. The house of worship has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983.
A new use for the church has yet to be determined, the AP reported.
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