THE 1902 WINNEGANCE GENERAL STORE is located on High Street at the Phippsburg line. The new target date for the move is Wednesday.

THE 1902 WINNEGANCE GENERAL STORE is located on High Street at the Phippsburg line. The new target date for the move is Wednesday.

BATH

The 1902 Winnegance General Store is getting ready to move.

It won’t be moving far — just to a grassy field to the south of the building.

The historic building on High Street at the Phippsburg line was scheduled to have been moved from its foundation Friday. But heavy rains last weekend softened the field, and after looking closely at the base of the superstructure, the house mover said Friday that more timbers had been needed to shore the old store up so it will stay in one piece as it’s moved.

The new target date for the move is Wednesday. The contractor says just two people will be needed.

In the meantime, the store has had some prep work done. The original double-hung windows — unusual for store fronts — have been removed to be restored, as has a small stained-glass window in an upstairs apartment.

Both windows are boarded up to give the structure support. The large timbers — mostly 12-by-12s — are being placed in position to give the building something to rest on while it’s being jacked up and moved. The front stairs have been removed.

After the building is moved, the next step will be to dig a new foundation and create a stepped foundation on the south side so a wheelchair ramp can be added for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. The foundation will be moved about 9 feet back.

In the meantime, the Bath City Council has yet to meet to decide whether the store will be allowed to reopen.

The next two council meetings will take up the issue of rezoning the Winnegance building to allow it to operate as a general store once more.

Owner Jennifer Greene said she will be coming in for the Nov. 6 meeting.

“Unfortunately, I’ll miss the big move,” she said.

Greene said she is hopeful that the council will vote to allow a zoning exception that will permit her to run it as a store. She is in negotiations with a couple who is interested in running it as an old-fashioned general store with a café.

In August, Maine Preservation listed Winnegance General Store as among Maine’s most endangered historic properties. In its 16th annual list, the group said the building is “threatened by declining conditions due to lack of use and potential surrounding development.”

“Since the store is easily accessible to the adjoining towns of Phippsburg, Bath and West Bath, catering to the needs of these communities would help facilitate successful rehabilitation of the property,” the report said.

The store was the kind of old-fashioned grocery and bait shop where old men would gather on cold days to slap a board over the pickle barrel and play dominoes — as much a community center as grocery store.

It was kept open, albeit in an abbreviated form, until its last owner-operator died in 2009.

When it changed hands, it was discovered that the property had significant structural issues. Many, including foundation problems, stemmed from an accident in which a woman crashed into the building a year earlier; others were expected in a building of its age.

It is the only retail establishment in the village of Winnegance, and locals would like it to become part of village life once again.

Prior to Greene’s purchase — which was the second in a short period this year — brokers opined that the property was in such bad shape it would only be sold as a lot, but neighbors have been rallying for the building’s renovation for years.


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