June 20, 2018
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Lincolnville uses people power to move schoolhouse across street

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Brothers Frank and Alton Parker and Ruth Felton had front-row seats as more than 100 people turned out on a bright late October morning to help watch the former one-room Center School be pulled 200 feet by human power to its new home.

The moving day for the Center School was a success, noted historian Diane O’Brien, after nearly five months of raising money and getting necessary approvals to have the building moved across Main Street, where the Lincolnville Historical Society structure also will be the home of the Lincolnville Library.

Frank Parker attended the school for eight years, leaving after completing the eighth grade in 1937. His brother Alton attended the school for seven years and had finished seventh grade in 1947 when the school was closed.

The town had five one-room schools which were all closed in 1947 when the Lincolnville Central School was built.

Alton Parker said he preferred the one-room schoolhouse to the new school that he went to as an eighth-grader.

“Absolutely this one,” he said. “You had 30 students in the entire school.”

He said he and his brother would run home for lunch and the boys would play cowboys out in the woods with toy pistols strapped to their waists.

Frank Parker said there was no shortage of memories during his eight years there.

“Everything about it was a great memory,” he said.

He said it was great to see so many people turn out to help move the Center School.

Felton spent eight years at the school, completing eighth grade in 1939.

“I lived on a farm and we had no close neighbors. Going to school was an opportunity to socialize with every child,” Felton recalled.

She admitted she had her knuckles rapped a few times by the teacher but that her memories too are happy ones of the school.

Felton later lived in Connecticut for 47 years before returning in 1998 to live in the same farmhouse where she was born on Route 173.

Felton said she enjoyed watching the community come together for the moving day and that the school will be used as a library. She noted her favorite subject at the one-room schoolhouse was reading.

Paul Cartwright of Camden served as the operations manager for the move and said that while a contractor could have been hired and machinery used for the move, the decision was made to use human power from community residents.

By 10:30 a.m., the Center School had been pulled across the street on blocks of wood, planks of wood, and metal pipes used as rollers, with ropes, pulleys and about 100 people pulling. Once the school was on the slab, there was a round of applause from the gathering and Cartwright received hugs from a number of the participants.

The building is 25 feet by 34 feet. The new home, across Main Street (also known as Route 52) was the home of the former Dean and Eugley Garage.

Donations of timbers from Viking Lumber, shingles from Rankin’s Hardware and Building Supplies, tree work from Bob Bateman and Chris Gardiner, landscape design consulting from Kerry Hardy, and Vincent Abaldo serving as general contractor for the project were also credited with the success of the community project.

O’Brien noted that the Boat Club purchased both buildings in the spring and agreed to sell the Center School building to the Lincolnville Historical Society for $1 if it would move it off the property.

At the June town meeting, voters agreed to lease the former Dean and Eugley land to the Historical Society. Events held since then raised $13,000 for the move.

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