WINDHAM – The town’s historical society is moving forward with a plan to transplant the South Windham Public Library building from Gorham to the society’s land on Windham Center Road.

The Gorham Town Council decided Tuesday to allow the Windham Historical Society to take the building and donated $3,000 toward the move — what the town expected to pay to demolish the building.

The library, which closed in July due to a lack of patronage, is on land owned by head librarian Lorraine Jonassen.

After she and her late husband bought the property on the Presumpscot River in 1978, they sold the building to the town for $1 and agreed to let it stay there as long as it remained a library.

When the library closed, the town became responsible for removing it.

The town planned to demolish the building, unless someone came forward with an alternate plan, which the historical society recently did.

The society wants to incorporate the library, which was originally a hose house for the South Windham fire station, into its planned living history center, called the Village Green.

The building was moved across the river into Gorham in 1934, and used to expand an existing library in the back of a general store.

The library would be one of about a dozen buildings, including a barn and blacksmith shop, in the Village Green, which would be located next to the Windham town offices, said Linda Griffin, president of the historical society.

There’s already an old library on the site. Griffin said the South Windham library building might be used to display equipment from the town’s first rescue squad.

Plans for the Village Green, which have been in the making for two years, still need the approval of the Windham Planning Board.

Griffin is hoping that happens by next month, and the society hopes to open the Village Green by next spring.

The Gorham Town Council gave the historical society until the end of October to move the building, with the possibility of an extension.

Griffin said the historical society is seeking estimates for moving the library and building a foundation at the new site, which she expects to cost about $10,000, and then plans to try to raise money to cover the cost.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

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