FAYETTE — The late-1870s building is too close to busy Route 17, and the corner boards show numerous holes made by woodpeckers. The back of the two-story hall houses a two-story outhouse, with a two-holer on each floor, long since replaced by flush toilets in bathrooms.

But the second floor of Starling Hall, formerly Starling Grange 156 in North Fayette, is a gem, and the Friends of Starling Hall are raising money to restore the rest of the building.

The second floor features dark wooden, tongue-and-groove beadboard on the walls and ceiling, polished wooden floors and a stage with a restored screen featuring numerous businesses in Livermore Falls and one in Wilton.

The restoration would allow the building to function better as a community center and gathering place. The Friends group began its efforts in earnest in August 2014, shortly after residents voted at Town Meeting to keep the hall rather than sell it.

“It’s a meaningful building to the people in this town,” Chadwick said. “Many people young and old have very fond memories of events here.”

She said certain things in particular keep her interested in restoring the building.

“It never fails that several people come up to me and say, ‘I had my acting debut here when I was 5,’ or ‘My parents had their wedding reception here,’ ” she said.

Donna Barrett, vice president of the Friends board, said people recall the contradances, the plays, the eighth-grade graduations.

“It’s a building that’s full of memories for this town,” she said.

Maggie Chadwick gives a tour Thursday of the backstage area in the former Grange hall on second floor of Starling Hall in Fayette.

Maggie Chadwick gives a tour Thursday of the backstage area in the former Grange hall on second floor of Starling Hall in Fayette. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Over the past two years, the group succeeded in getting the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places and, with assistance from attorney Jed Davis of Fayette, adopted bylaws and became certified as a nonprofit organization.

Now the group is trying to raise funds for about $600,000 worth of work, which would include moving the entire 65-foot-by-35-foot structure about 20 feet farther from the road. That would mean extending the cellar hole and likely filling in some of the horse stalls contained there.

The building now stands in the right of way for Route 17, and snow and salt splashed up against the building have rotted the bottom of the front door.

Relocating the building, which requires a permit from the town, also would allow room for a well to be drilled in front of the building. The building has running water, but it is not potable, so drinking water is carried in.

BaselineES LLC, an engineering firm owned by a Fayette resident, is paying for the engineering work required for the move.

“Sometimes it just takes one person like that to give you a jump-start,” Barrett said.

A membership campaign is underway as well.

In the meantime, the building continues to be used for such things as community suppers, a Fayette Historical Society museum and society meetings, the town’s polling site and summer selectmen meetings. About 100 people attended the last public supper held two weeks ago.

“It’s what this building is for, the community,” Barrett said. But it still retains the feel of yesteryear – a hole in the wall of one of the second floor anterooms allowed Grange members to give the password that allowed entrance.

“The secretaries’ records are here from the 1800s,” Chadwick said.

In 1987, the town of Fayette acquired the building; and in June 2014, townspeople voted at Town Meeting to keep it.

The Friends’ next fundraiser, a 7-9 p.m. “Meet the Authors” (John Ford Sr. and Mark Nickerson, on tour in support of “Blue Lights and Funny Cider”) event is part of a daylong Fayette Friends & Family & Neighbors Day scheduled for July 16, also including a “Fireman’s BBQ,” a bake sale, a silent auction and a yard sale.

According to a 2015 annual report, the Friends group noted it had raised $6,000, half of that from various community events, and also supported other community organizations.

“While we do not know how much funding will be needed to complete renovations to the Hall it could easily exceed $500,000,” the report says. “We are already over 1 percent of the way towards that goal.”