Don't Mind the School Moving Behind Me

Nathan Hale Schoolhouse heads for new location - again

Long steel beams support the building where Nathan Hale taught school in 1774 and 1775, as workers guide it to its new home.

They stack railroad ties as temporary stops on the schoolhouse's trail, about one hundred feet from its old spot along State Street.

New London is renovating the plaza across from the train station, and moving the schoolhouse opens up the view of the Thames from the street.

"I love it! I love it!," said Charlotte Hennegan, owner of Thames River Greenery. "You get to see across the river now."

The schoolhouse has been moved before as New London opens and shuts State Street to vehicles.

"In my lifetime I believe it's four times," said Hennegan. "Could be three.  But I'm pretty sure it's four.  This is the most exciting move."

The Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution operates the state-owned schoolhouse here and the one in East Haddam.   It hopes to renovate the attic after the move and increase the hours the building's open to the public.

"It has a new floor in it and cabinets for display cases, which we never had before," said Howard Dodd of the S.A.R..

For now, though, the move is dramatic.

"You often wonder about a building that old," said Pete Franzese, watching it move. "Is it gonna go in one piece or is there gonna be a creak or a crinkle to make it fall apart?  They have to be sure that each bay is set in place and everything's properly leveled."

Another spectator called the move exciting. "I'm originally from New York," said Melissa Mingo. "I have not seen buildings move.  I usually see them go up or go down but not move."

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