Two years ago, a one-room house built in Oxford, Ohio, in 1880 was on its way to being bulldozed to make way for apartments. Instead, residents of the college town rallied to save the Italianate building, and today the Township House was moved four miles to the safety of a state park.
The two-hour move, delayed twice because of bad weather, was "quite an adventure," says Laura Henderson, member of the town's historic and architectural preservation commission and co-chair of the moving committee.
"Everyone was out cheering and clapping. It was a really uplifting experience," Henderson says. "It will go down in history as being one of the major community efforts in a long time."
This spring, workers will begin renovating the Township House as a museum about local history at Hueston Woods State Park.
After serving as a meeting house for more than 70 years, the Township House became offices; it has been vacant for the past few years.
Vounteers donated labor and materials to the project, and the owners of the house, Matt and Chris Rodbro, paid for today's $5,400 move, which will clear the way for a new apartment building. Three utility companies waived the $12,000 cost to move 70 overhead wires to make way for the house.
"This is the type of community effort we hope will inspire everyone to preserve the historic fabric of Oxford," Mayor Jerome Conley said in a statement.
With 21,000 residents and 14,000 students, Oxford, founded in 1809 around the 14,000-student University of Miami, has lost several historic buildings to neglect, Henderson says. "Students have been taking over these old buildings; one by one they're becoming dilapidated and not being maintained. We're trying to reclaim our history and prevent future demolitions."
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