COOPERSVILLE - There was quite a sight to be seen on Laurin Drive Nov. 16, when the Coopersville School District No. 9 one-room schoolhouse was moved on a trailer truck to its new location on Bechard Road.
The schoolhouse was in the back yard of Celine R. Paquette where it has stood for nearly 70 years, after it was purchased by her father-in-law William Paquette in the 1940s and used as a camp.
Seven years ago, Paquette contacted Suzanne Moore, also of Coopersville, about potentially having the building moved.
"I just didn't have the time at the time," recalled Moore. "So last fall she said she really needs to do something. If we didn't take it she was going to have to have it torn down or maybe burned as a fire exercise."
Moore, along with Geri Favreau, Kathy Fosher and Gloria Ashline, began to meet as a committee this past January to have the schoolhouse moved.
Moore explained Paquette contacted her because Moore had grown to admire the building while researching Coopersville for her book "From the Living Stone - A History of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Coopersville, N.Y."
From there Moore said she contacted Edward Bechard, who had attended the school in first and second grade and whose father Alderic Bechard was the one to have the school closed.
"We just went to Eddie and asked him if he'd be interested in helping us to make it into a little museum," Moore explained. "When I wrote the church history book, it was clear that the schoolhouse meant a lot to him. He offered the land, he offered to pay for the move and we're really really grateful to Celine for donating it and to Ed for assuming the property."
The land which Bechard offered actually puts the schoolhouse less than a mile from its original location on Mason Road, before it was purchased by William Paquette.
The move received help from private contractor Denis Richard who helped plan the move, and Ed Garrow & Sons Inc of Plattsburgh who acquired the permits for the transportation of the 20-by41 foot schoolhouse.
Moore said she hopes to have an open house for the schoolhouse at its Bechard Road location sometime in the spring, at which time it will be the Coopersville Schoolhouse of History. She also hopes to see it receive nonprofit status.
"We'll have exhibits three times a year," she said. "Schools can bring kids to tour the place. There'll be some interpretive panels and things. We're hoping to collect all things schoolhouse in the area."
"Right now there are no schoolhouses in Champlain that are saved as schoolhouses," Moore added. "This is pretty rare."
Now that the land on Laurin Drive has been cleared, another step Moore hopes to take is to bring in a metal detector.
"Before they closed the school, they buried a time capsule which was stuck in a canning jar," she said. "We're hoping to use a metal detector to try to find it. Nobody knows where it is."