19th Century Schoolhouse Being Readied For Move

19th Century Schoolhouse raised on dolly with cable bracing.

EXETER TWP., Pa. — An historic building is being readied for a big move. After much debate, Exeter’s one-room schoolhouse will be moved 125 feet away from the road.

Crews started digging Tuesday and plan to move the schoolhouse away from Rt. 562 before the end of the month. Before buses picked up and dropped off kids from school there was this one-room school house on the corner of Rt. 563 and Oley Turnpike Road.

Built in the1800s, it was used to teach students of all ages, in all subjects– all in one room. In 1937, it closed, but was still used as a teaching tool.

“It’s a really neat building inside. It’s almost like the Little House on the Prarie school in there– Big wide plank floors, potbelly stove, old desks with ink wells,” said Ken Fick of Lower Alsace, who visited the schoolhouse when he was in elementary school.

The Exeter School board debated for months and finally decided to keep the schoolhouse at the same address, but not the same location.

“It gets moved just to the side of the playground about 125 feet back,” said Jamin Buckingham, the foreman for Wolfe House Movers. Wolfe House Movers in Bernville is moving the school house. “It’s nice when you are close to home,” said Buckingham.

Typically, they travel the country moving all types of buildings. Jamin Buckingham said this isn’t his first one-room schoolhouse. “You just take precautions to preserve the historic value of it as much as you can,” said Buckingham.

The building is braced. And now they’re digging out the foundation and making room for two large beams. “Then it will be lifted,” said Buckingham, “Unifying hydraulic jacks we’ll raise the building.”

He said the building could be raised by the end of the week. But they can’t move it until the new foundation is dug and ready.

“They are on a tight timeframe cause they want it done by the end of the month,” said Buckingham.

“It’s going to be kind of neat to see get moved and get saved,” said Fick.

The Exeter school district explained it is on a tight timeframe because at the end of the month the state grant expires. The school district said the state will cover $100,000 for the move. It will still need to pay about $45,000.

Update: The Exeter Schoolhouse move was completed in July 2011.