WESTFIELD- The Historical Commission is seeking to move the Wyben schoolhouse from its current location on Montgomery Road and recently sought advice on how to go about doing so.
During the Historical Commission meeting March 15 the Historical Commission heard from Dennis Picard, an adjunct professor at Westfield State University who has spent much of his life as a museum professional in the living history field.
Picard started off by saying that if a building is removed from its original location, it is literally being taken out of its context, but that is not necessarily a terrible thing. The ideal location for the building, according to Cindy Gaylord and the other members of the Historical Commission, would be to the right of the Whip Museum on North Elm Street by the twin bridges.
“The first thing you have to decide is, what is it going to be used for,” said Picard, “Then you have to decide if you want to restore it. Do you restore the outside? The inside? Do you make it look like it did in 1870 or 1940?”
If the commission does decide to go through with moving it, Picard believes it would be relatively simple to do. Pieces of it would have to be removed for the duration of the trip, but it could be done. Gaylord and Picard also floated the idea of taking the building down, piece by piece, and rebuilding it next to the Whip Museum.
Picard gave a rough estimate that the project would cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. He said that the Country School Association of America (CSAA), a group that works to preserve schoolhouses around the country, could provide grants for the project.
“Our hope is that school groups can go, and we have been told in no uncertain terms that they cannot go where it is now because there is no septic,” said Gaylord.
Gaylord also pointed out that the Wyben Schoolhouse is located at the end of a road that is difficult to access with a school bus.