The Cambrian

Historic Cambria school house moved across town to new location

A change of address is now in order for the 1881 school house, which was relocated from West Village to its permanent home on East Main Street last Thursday night, Oct. 10.

Late-breaking notice to members of the Cambria Historical Society Board members alerted at 7 p.m. that CHP had approved the move with its escort to begin at 9 p.m. At 9:15, the roof was ready to roll, and the movers had it in place on the 6-acre parcel within 13 minutes. Because of the strategic timing, only one vehicle was affected on a cross street.

Returning for the main structure, which had also been loaded and ready for some days, the movers hitched it up and headed out at 9:50. The school house approached cheering board members at Bridge and Main streets at 10:50, with stops along the way to adjust and ensure the security of fittings. Only four vehicles were affected from the main school house move.

DSCF4576 xLR.jpg
Moving of the historic Cambria school house on Thursday, Oct. 10. Iain McAdam Courtesy photo

It was a peaceful, quiet night, with only scarecrows from the town festival standing sentinel along the way. An additional 35 minutes was required to place the school house alongside the roof on the property, with the bell tower that was previously carried separately. Some photographers who had been following the progress daily, chronicled the move.

The school house “rests in pieces” now, with plans to reassemble this week, according to Project Manager Laurel Stewart. Many will remember the transit in two sections in 1964 from the original site along Santa Rosa Creek, with Art Beal lifting the few power lines out of the way. Unfortunately, modern technology and heavy traffic in town limited the move to be carried out safely at night this time.

The Historical Society has a vigorous campaign to finance the expensive relocation and renovation of the school house, not only for its positioning at the east entrance to town, but also to provide visiting students with an authentic interactive old-time school experience. When staffed with volunteers, the school will open to all on other occasions.

Donors of $1,000 will be honored as Vintage PTA members on the plaque, and donors of $100 or more will receive certificates of appreciation. Contributions may be made at the Cambria Historical Museum, 2251 Center Street, mailed to P.O. Box 906, Cambria, CA, or on the website at

Consuelo Macedo is the Community Relations Chairwoman on the Board of the Cambria Historical Society.
Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune