Moving a circa 1881 building is a giant, historic jigsaw puzzle of a project, no matter how little the structure is.
That’s what members of the nonprofit Cambria Historical Society are learning as Eric Brandt of Brandt Home and Building Movers of Santa Maria undertakes the laborious process of disassembling and moving the Old Santa Rosa Schoolhouse.
By Tuesday, Oct. 8, the belltower and roof had been removed separately, and the remaining building was being lifted — very slowly — off its concrete foundation, according to Laurel Stewart, who is managing the complex relocation-and-renovation project for the nonprofit Cambria Historical Society.
When the actual move of all those jigsaw pieces will happen wasn’t yet firmed up, as it depended on the speed with which the disassembly work continued, an inspection by CHP and a few uncontrollable factors, such as wind speed.
After all, the house will be lumbering slowly down Main Street to its new home, 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. It’s where the former dog park used to be, and that’s where the old schoolhouse will be reassembled and lovingly returned to its former glory.
Then, after decades of being used as an art gallery, the charming one-room schoolhouse will once again be in teaching mode, teaching students of all ages what it was like to go to school during the Victorian era and early 1900s.
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.
During the actual move of about a mile, 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.
The costly move and restoration — undertaken to preserve the structure for future generations to see and appreciate — is a complex, expensive venture. Initial costs are roughly estimated to be $100,000 or more. Supporters can donate to the cause at an “SOS: Save Our Schoolhouse” gofundme account, by check or credit card.
For details, call the Society’s museum at 805-927-2891 or www.cambriahistoricalsociaty.com.