The main crew prepares the wooden rails for the move.
The main crew prepares the wooden rails for the move.
A lmost a quarter of the town's population turned up in Lincolnville Center on Saturday morning, October 27, to haul the old one-room Center School from one side of the road to the other, by hand.

Over the years, the village center of Lincolnville has slowly drifted away; Dean & Eugley's service station was torn down, the fire station relocated up the road, the Lincolnville telephone company moved its offices elsewhere and the old general store limped along and finally closed.

A handful of citizens thought it time to reclaim The Center, as the village is known. Diane O'Brien started the effort to save the 19th-century one-room schoolhouse and rebuild it into a library. But, first, it had to be moved across Route 173.

"I saw a video of people picking up a barn in Nebraska and moving it by hand and I thought, if they can do it, why can't we?" said O'Brien.

The community-building exercise grew through fund-raising pie bake-offs, auctions and donations that raised almost $17,000. More fund-raising efforts are under way.

Moving the Center School turned out to be easy work for the 140 or so that pulled. Another 200 people watched. The town hopes to open the library in the old school in the fall of 2013.