Homecoming for Hank: Moving Henry Aaron’s Childhood Home

By: Danny Lipford
Henry Aaron discusses the renovation of his childhood home with Danny Lipford.

Henry Aaron discusses the renovation of his childhood home with Danny Lipford.

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The childhood home of baseball legend, Henry “Hank” Aaron, was given to the City of Mobile by the Aaron family and moved to the grounds of the Mobile BayBear minor league baseball stadium in Mobile, Alabama. After more than a year of renovation, the home was opened in 2010 as a museum devoted to the life and impressive career of the Baseball Hall of Fame slugger.

Completed renovation of the Henry Aaron Museum in Mobile, Alabama.

Completed renovation of the Henry Aaron Museum in Mobile, Alabama.

The house was built in 1942 by Hank’s father, with help from Hank and his brother, in the Mobile community of Toulminville, Alabama. Several additions were later added to the original 24’x24’ structure.

Aaron Home being readied for moving.

Moving the house involved a lot of preparation, including removing layers brick veneer and asbestos siding. Special precautions had to be taken when removing the asbestos siding so as not to pose a health risk to workers or residents in the neighborhood.

The roof and eaves were removed so the house could clear utility lines along the route. Massive steel I-beams were welded together and carefully threaded under the foundation to support the house during the move.

I-beams are positioned under Aaron home for moving.

Hydraulic jacks were used to lift the house. Once the building was high enough off the ground, wheels were attached to the beams, and the 30-ton house was ready to roll.

The six-mile journey across town required careful jockeying around tight turns, and the removal of an occasional street sign along the way. Finally, after a six hour journey, the house arrived at the stadium named for Mobile’s hometown baseball hero.

Aaron house being moved down narrow Mobile streets.

Following a groundbreaking ceremony, the house was moved to its final resting place next to the stadium. The structure was jacked up and placed on wood cribbing while a new foundation for the home was constructed.

Once the foundation was complete, hydraulic jacks were used to lower the house. The roof was replaced, and siding applied to the exterior walls.

Rafters going on Aaron house at BayBears stadium.

The interior of the house was renovated to provide a secure setting to display awards and memorabilia from Aaron’s career. The museum was officially dedicated at a star studded event held at Henry Aaron Stadium, with legendary baseball greats Willie Mays, Rickey Henderson, Bruce Sutter, Bob Feller, Ozzie Smith, and Reggie Jackson on hand to pay tribute to Aaron.

Dedication ceremony for the Henry Aaron Museum.

Dedication ceremony for the Henry Aaron Museum.

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