Center schoolhouse on the move

By Jenna Lookner | Oct 17, 2012
Photo by: Jenna Lookner A group worked to move the Lincolnville central school house on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The building was sold for $1 to the Lincolnville Historical Society by the Lincolnville Boat Club Oct. 8 with the contingency that it is moved to a site across the street that was once occupied by Dean and Eugley service station and has sat vacant for about a decade.

Lincolnville — A group of volunteers gathered at the site of the Lincolnville Center School house to begin the process of moving the 19th century building to its new site on the opposite side of Route 52.

The antique building will realize a new chapter. Now owned by the Lincolnville Historical Society, the building will house the fledgling Lincolnville Community Library. On Saturday, Oct. 27, volunteers will move the building using man power and ingenuity.

Lincolnville Boat Club purchased both the central school house and the neighboring old fire station garage buildings from the town in late fall 2011 after both structures sat unoccupied for approximately a year following the construction of the new Lincolnville Fire Station. The town sold the buildings and the property to the organization for $40,000. Though the Lincolnville Boat Club utilizes a shed area at the back of the former one-room school house — which closed in 1947 — the space has sat largely unused. Earlier this year the Lincolnville Boat Club offered the schoolhouse building to Lincolnville Historical Society with a unique catch — that it be moved directly across to the street to the town-owned property where Dean and Eugley service station used to sit.

On Oct. 8, representatives from Lincolnville Historical Society and Lincolnville Boat Club met at Whale's Tooth Pub for a closing of sorts. The boat club agreed to sell the school house building to the historical society for $1, and the deal was finalized with a toast. The following day, the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen agreed to lease the former Dean and Eugley site to the historical society for 20 years at no cost.

Through numerous fundraisers Lincolnville Historical Society President Diane O'Brien said volunteers raised more than $13,000 for the move and subsequent expenses. Viking and Rankin's Hardware have both donated materials including lumber and shingles.

O'Brien previously said the Dean and Eugley site received many evaluations by the Department of Environmental Protection and is considered usable — on the contingency no soil is disturbed on the contaminated site. She said a foundation will be poured atop the slab by mid-October. A telephone wire will also have to be raised; O'Brien said the present wire is 17 feet from the ground and the building is 26 feet tall. There is not enough slack in the line to maneuver underneath, she explained, so a taller phone poll is slated to be installed prior to the move. Additionally, Arborists Chris Gardiner and Bob Bateman donated their services to remove several trees impeding the project.

On Oct. 10, a group of about a dozen men and women were on the site of the school house, which weighs an estimated 25,000 pounds and measures 850 square feet. In preparation for the move the interior was braced with a crosshatching of lumber and a track, made of railroad ties, was created to aid in moving the building forward. Pipes placed beneath the building allowed it to slowly roll forward. O'Brien said the move was a test of sorts, a dry run in anticipation of the bigger journey.

As the group readied to attempt to move the building, Paul Cartwright was stationed at the rear of a Ford Ranger truck with a come-along tool attached to the rear trailer hitch. As Cartwright cranked the come-along — a hand-crank cable pulling device — others dispersed inside the building and began to push the walls and lumber braces. After a few false starts — and subsequent adjustments — the building began to move in steady increments, with a line of volunteers pushing from the back. Within about 30 minutes the school house and shed were separated.

O'Brien said the library committee will be responsible for designing the interior of the building. Lincolnville Historical Society members also envision utilizing a portion of the lot as an open air museum where larger historical artifacts such as antique farm implements might be displayed in three-walled sheds. The idea of adding raised gardens and native plantings has been discussed, plumbing logistics are also a topic of discussion.

O'Brien said the process will begin at 9 a.m. on Oct. 27. Spectators are welcome and will be asked to observe from a "cordoned-off area," volunteers will be needed to pull the building, and they will sign a waver to participate. Though there could be easier means to move the structure, O'Brien said the effort is symbolic.

"We like the idea of pulling it," she explained. She noted that a video she saw of a barn moving in Nebraska during the 1980s was "the inspiration for this crazy idea."

O'Brien said the first order of business after today is fulfilling an obligation to secure the shed — once an auto paint shop and garage — as a contingency of the sale from the boat club. She said that work will likely happen with the next week or two, before the school house building is moved from the lot completely. Additionally a general contractor will be hired to oversee the work, though much of it will be executed by volunteers.

The move is just the beginning, O'Brien said. Renovations including flooring and restoring the historic facade are among major projects that she said could be completed before the snow flies. Additional fundraising will commence as well, she added.

"Ideally we'll get it onto the foundation that day," she said.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at






Jim Dunham, left, and Paul Cartwright were instrumental in moving the school house building. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
A shed addition will have to be secured and finished as a contingency of the sale agreement between the Lincolnville Historical Society and Lincolnville Boat Club. As the school house was moved forward the shed was left open in the front. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
After months of planning and fundraising, the initial efforts to move the Lincolnville Center school house building were under way on Oct. 10. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Greta Gulezian painstakingly pulls nails from building debris. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Susan Shaw of Camden was on-hand to help. Her husband, Paul Cartwright, designed the internal bracing system and assisting in spearheading the move with several other experienced volunteers. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Diane O'Brien shows an initial site plan rendering drawn by Lincolnville artist Julie Turkevich. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
The Lincolnville Center single-room school house closed in 1947. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Paul Cartwright was one of the volunteers at the helm of the move Oct. 10. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Volunteers Paul Cartwright, right, and Tom May. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Jim Dunham and Susan Shaw use old-fashioned elbow grease to move an 850 square-foot building that was once a one-room school house in Lincolnville Center. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Cindy Dunham, left, and Greta Gulezian work together to remove sharp nails from cast-off lumber. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
The school house is to be moved with the existing windows intact. Volunteers are pictured pushing the building as seen through the antique glass windows. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
The Let's Move It! campaign is officially under way. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Cindy Dunham. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Men at work on the school house move project in Lincolnville Wednesday, Oct. 10. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Jim Dunham. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Paul Cartwright works the come-along as others push the building from behind. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Susan Shaw, left, chats with Cindy Dunham. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Paul Cartwright. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Volunteers — including Cindy Dunham — donned work gloves. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
The building was stripped to bare bones to lighten the load for the move. According to Diane O'Brien estimates have put the weight of the structure at around 25,000 pounds. (Photo by: Jenna Lookner)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Bridget & Richard Qualey/Stetson |

Bravo to the talented and dedicated team working to preserve a piece of Lincolnville history!

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