Relocating school is moving experience Teams of oxen help pull the Orleans County Grammar School to a new location Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Brownington, Vt . (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Relocating school is moving experience
Lexile

With dozens of oxen leading the way, a historic schoolhouse in Vermont has been relocated. It was moved to the spot where a prominent African-American scholar and legislator was once its schoolmaster.
 
For decades, the Orleans County Grammar School served as a meeting hall in Brownington. It is a hilltop village near the Canadian border. But town officials decided they wanted to move the 30-by-40-foot white clapboard-sided house. It needed to go a third of a mile up the road. They wanted to restore the village's historic district to its 19th-century condition.
 
The 105-ton timber-frame school building was moved up a hill by an engine on the back of a barge-like rolling platform. It filled both lanes of the narrow country road. The 44 oxen, well, they were there more for show. And to give the 900 or so onlookers a feel of what it might have been like to move the house back in the day.
 
"We were going to let the oxen take it if they could and help them out if they needed it," said Peggy Day Gibson. She is director of the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. "So we're doing this for show. And we're doing it for fun. And we're doing it to get the community involved."
 
The schoolhouse first was relocated in 1869 to be closer to the town center. Now it is now back at the small hilltop campus where Alexander Twilight opened it in 1823. He was its schoolmaster. Twilight is the town's central historical figure. He was the first African-American to graduate from an American college or university. He got a degree from Middlebury College.
 
The impetus for the move came two years ago. That is when the town was told it could no longer get insurance for a building without indoor plumbing or a modern heating system. Residents voted to offer the building to the Orleans County Historical Society, which oversees the Brownington historic district.
 
Besides the engine pushing the schoolhouse up the hill, utility crews lowered power lines and communications cables so the 34-foot-high building could have clearance.
 
The event appeared better attended than organizers hoped.
 
"We should be selling T-shirts," said Brownington resident Dawn Perry. She suggested the shirts might say, "I was there for the second moving of the schoolhouse."
 
The schoolhouse was placed next to a newly built foundation and will be slid onto that later. The foundation will be fronted with slabs of granite, to give it a more historically accurate appearance.
 
The building is "solid as a rock," said Bob Hunt, education director for the museum. Once in place, he said, "it should be good for another 200 years."

Filed Under:  
Assigned 170 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why weren't power lines lowered for the first move?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (13)
  • crowan-dav
    8/24/2016 - 07:05 p.m.

    In response to "Relocating School Is Moving Experience," I agree that moving the old building/school was a good idea to get the community to get together and involved. One reason I agree is that it was done for fun and to keep the building known. Another reason is that having oxen to move the building closer to the center of the town is really cool and an interesting thing to do. It says in the article, "'We were going to let the oxen take it if they could and help them out if they needed it, so we're doing this for show. And we're doing it for fun. And we're doing it to get the community involved,'" said Peggy Day Gibson from the passage. A third reason is that since it has moved for the second time its a really awesome experience for the people who got to see it. "The schoolhouse was placed next to a newly built foundation and will be slid onto that later. The foundation will be fronted with slabs of granite, to give it a more historically accurate appearance," The passage said. Even though it must've cost a lot of money to do this, I think they made a good decision.

  • hjake-dav
    8/24/2016 - 07:39 p.m.

    In response to "Relocationg Schools is a moving Experiance," I agree that It is a very good moving experiance. One reason I disagree is that It might be hard to get everything back to the way it used to. Another reason is that moving it twice will be even harder to get together, and might make less people attend. It says in the article that "Alexander Twilight opened in 1823, which is an old school, and it wouldn't be up to date with modern schools. A third reason is that its not that useful to move because kids will just go to the school they where previously attending, because its more up to date, unlike this one. Even though its an old school, I think that it will still be a moving experience for the kids still attending the school, because it might be closer to their home.

  • dharper-dav
    8/29/2016 - 08:24 p.m.

    In response to "Relocating School is Moving Experience," my response is that is was a good and educating thing to do. One reason I agree is that this was a good learning experience because this shows how they had to move back then. Another reason is that they brought the community together to do something fun. It says in the article, that they were doing this for fun, to get the community involved. A third reason I like it is because they moved it to an historical place. Even though this took a lot of work to do, I think it was still a good way to bring the community together.

  • sierrab-ste
    9/07/2016 - 09:52 p.m.

    I think it was a good thing that they moved the building as it brought the community more together. The building will not be forgotten this way.

  • carolinec-pav
    9/13/2016 - 10:10 a.m.

    This story grabbed my attechion and really gave good info and made me think about how much effort it would be to move an entire school up the road with not much. I agree that it was a good idea because that building is historic and an important part of the town.

  • jackies-pav
    9/13/2016 - 10:10 a.m.

    I agree that moving the schoolhouse was a good idea because with something as historic as that building, almost everyone would get interested, and the entire town would join together as one to watch it be relocated. Also, using oxen to lead the way made the entire story much more interesting.

  • olivial-orv
    9/21/2016 - 07:21 p.m.

    Because they didn't have power lines back in 1869.

  • giavannac-orv
    9/29/2016 - 11:25 a.m.

    Power lines were invited in 1882 not 1869.

  • jonathanf-stu
    9/30/2016 - 12:55 p.m.

    IT is weird to relocate your school by using 44 oxen but if thats they wanted to move it I wont say anythingbut it is still cool to read about that.

  • nickd-stu
    10/04/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    how did they move the school without destroying it?

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT