Leaning Boehler Building Stays At Josephine Street

May 7, 2014

The Boehler Building gained its distinctive starboard slant as a result of surviving the big flood of 1921. Water reached the bottom of the second floor and when it receded, the building leaned dramatically to its right and has remained so ever since.
Credit Courtney King

The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission has denied permission for the Boehler Building’s owner to move the leaning structure to the Pearl property down the street.

The new owner of the crooked building, which many people still call the Liberty Bar, wanted to move it from its location on Josephine at the Hwy 281 exit, two blocks south to the corner of Avenue A and Pearl Parkway.

Courtney King, who said her great-great-grandfather is the building’s original owner, said her family only recently sold the building. King was shocked to learn just last weekend about the Pearl buying it – and of the plan to move the 100-year-old structure.

“I believe it was Friday night around 10 or 11 and I was on Facebook," King said. "And I see the building and I see how they want to cut it down and move it. That’s when I went ballistic and I called my mom and said, ‘Oh my God, you’re never going to believe what’s happening.’ "

That’s when King started an online petition to block the move to the Pearl. She said moving the building would damage its integrity and affect the natural lean it acquired in the big flood of 1921.

“The building is built on pier and beam out of long-leaf pine," King said. "The water went clear up to the ceilings on the first floor. A lot of people in that area took coverage at the building since there weren’t any two-story buildings in the area. And as the water slowly receded, that’s how it got its tilt. And it remained intact because it was built on pier and beam.”

HDRC denied the application by Silver Ventures to move the building, but it did approve the company’s application to move the small frame house behind the bar to a still-to-be-determined location that the commission must approve.