Sometime in the first week of October (weather and other potential constraints permitting), traffic on Cambria’s Main Street could be really heavy — literally.
After weeks of preparation, months of planning and years of hoping, Cambria’s Old Santa Rosa Schoolhouse soon will be on the move, according to Laurel Stewart, who is managing the relocation-and-renovation project for the nonprofit Cambria Historical Society.
During the actual move, Main Street traffic and parking will be affected. Stewart said that, for public-safety and other reasons, it would be wise for people to avoid the moving vehicle and its load, the route and both locations.
On the moving days, the historic structure will lumber about a mile, overseen by hundreds of scarecrows, down the town’s busy main drag, towed by professional house mover Eric Brandt of Brandt Home and Building Movers of Santa Maria. Brandt (who’s not related to the project’s construction contractor Carl Brandt of Cambria) will move the old schoolhouse in two sections, upper and lower.
The destination? A 6-acre site near the intersection of Main and Santa Rosa Creek Road, at the foot of the winding eastern entrance to East Village and downtown.
Coincidentally, in 2003 Brandt moved the former Mid-State Bank building to its current home at 870 Main St., right next door to where the old schoolhouse has been since 1964 and still will be for the next few days. He also lifted a portion of the Guthrie-Bianchini House, so a foundation could be constructed underneath it.
Brandt and an assistant began prepping the structure on Monday, Sept. 23, primarily working underneath it in legs-out-from-the-foundation postures that evoked visions of a certain witch being wiped out by a Kansas tornado.
The Society, which owns the schoolhouse now, plans to return the interior design to its original layout and decor, complete with old-time chalkboards, vintage desks and educational materials that will illustrate to visiting schoolchildren and adults what a small school was like in the late 1880s and early 1900s.
The move — undertaken to preserve the structure for future generations to see and appreciate — is a complex, expensive venture. Initial costs are estimated to be in the neighborhood of $100,000.
Supporters can donate to the cause at an “SOS: Save Our Schoolhouse” gofundme account, by check or credit card.