SHELDON — A historic building is becoming the rapidly growing Sheldon Historical Society’s new home.
Town voters approved the purchase of the building, located at 200 Bridge Street, for the Historical Society on Town Meeting Day in March. The cost to purchase the building was $27,500, but voters approved $40,000 toward the purchase, with the additional money going toward renovation costs.
“There was a bunch of campaigning,” Historical Society member Harold Smith explained. “It’s a small town. [Historical society members] spent a little time in the mini-marts and the grocery stores, and a little bit in the town clerk’s office, and going out to meetings and going to the church a few times. Talk to people, talk to people, talk to people.
“When we finally got to the town meeting, there was no further discussion. [The article] was raised. It was motioned and seconded. The moderator said, ‘Any discussion?’ There was dead silence. I said, ‘Oh, we lost the whole friggin’ thing. But 85 percent of the town’s voters approved [the purchase] that day.”
The building’s first floor will serve as a Sheldon Historical Museum, containing all the relics and historical items squeezed into the society’s current home: the town clerk’s office. Smith said the museum is expected to open in summer 2018 at the earliest, calling the building’s renovation a “real long-term project.”
The Historical Society and other local volunteers have put in 250 hours of work in the past week, Smith estimated, cleaning out that first floor, and the building’s yard.
“There were four truckloads that went to Casella,” Smith said. “There were two truckloads that went to Hodgdon Brothers. There was one truckload that went to Georgia recycling. And we’ve still got more to do.”
The building stands just over the bridge on Bridge Street, across from the basketball court. At one time, more than a century ago, one might have looked out the window to see saw and grist mills. Now, affixed to that window, is a temporary sign, reading “SHELDON HISTORICAL SOCIETY.”
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