Blynman Schoolhouse Acquisition & Restoration Project
The Blynman Schoolhouse had served Magnolia residents for well over 100 years as a school and later as multi-purpose center. But in the early to mid 2000s, the City of Gloucester considered razing the building, which in recent years went unused and began deteriorating. When the Magnolia Historical Society (MHS) heard in 2011 of the city's plans to raze the building, they organized efforts to prevent the school's destruction and preserve its place in Magnolia's history.
The MHS board soon thereafter chartered the Blynman Schoolhouse Acquisition & Restoration Project, which sought not only to acquire the school but to also restore the aging edifice. In January 2013, MHS, under the leadership of lifelong resident and MHS President, Lisa (Peek) Ramos, MHS purchased the schoolhouse from the City of Gloucester for $1,000 and quickly set about to restore the building to its former glory. The goal was two-part: to use the space within the structure to support both a museum and all-purpose function hall - a apt tribute to the building's past.
MHS headquarters moved from the Magnolia Library Center to Blynman Schoolhouse, despite renovations being years from completion. With the move, MHS launched a variety of fundraisers to address immediate concerns, such as the school's collapsing cupola and leaking roof. Shortly thereafter, the building's non-functioning heating system was replaced with the demolition and insulation of the street-facing school room following suit. The school was also equipped with a keyless entry system and a temperature control system suitable for a museum. But much work still remanined.
In Novemeber 2015, MHS Vice President Bob Canon met with an architect to discuss the board's renovation desires. In additon to a museum and all-purpose room on the main level, the plans would also call for a uni-sex lavatory, catering facility, storage closets, and an administration office. Space within the school's basement would be divvied amongst a mechanical room, archive room and meeting room. The basement rooms would remain accessible from a first-floor stairwell or from an external bulkhead, while main-level access would be divided into a primary and secondary entrance: the primary via a handicap accessible ramp on the East-facing side of the building; the latter being a traditional staircase through the West side of the building. (See the detailed Blueprints here.) The building plans are slated for approval before 2016, with Requests for Proposal to follow shortly thereafter.
Of course, paying for the proposed work is yet another matter. MHS relies heavily on the spirit and charity of its members and community to help support the Blynman Schoolhouse Acquisition & Restoration Project, as well as the many other initiatives. No sacrifice of money or time is too small. Fortunately, you can Donate or Volunteer directly from this web site and it only takes minutes to do. Simply click the "Donate" button to pledge a tax-deductible dontation today and help preserve our heritage.
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Installing the cupola