WHEATFIELD – Funding for a plan to move a 187-year-old Sanborn building last used as an American Legion post to the grounds of a farm museum was approved Tuesday by the committee that controls Niagara River Greenway funding in Niagara County.
The Host Communities Standing Committee unanimously approved the $175,000 request from the Sanborn Area Historical Society.
Society vice president William Read said work will begin as soon as the money is in hand.
Sanborn American Legion Post 969 donated the building at 5866 Pearl St. to the historical society last year. The plan is to lift the building off its foundation and haul it to an old railroad track bed nearby and move it to the grounds of the society’s Farm Museum at 2660 Saunders Settlement Road.
It won’t be the first time the 40-foot-by-25-foot wooden building has been moved. The society’s funding application said the building was originally erected in 1825 or 1826 on what is now Cambria-Lewiston Townline Road, near the pass through the rock of the Niagara Escarpment known as the Pekin Cut.
It was originally used as a Methodist Episcopal church and later as a Presbyterian church. Sometime between 1865 and 1874, the building was lifted onto wooden rollers and pulled by horses from the hamlet of Pekin to Pearl Street in Sanborn; its steeple was removed at that time, but the Historical Society’s restoration plan would erect a new one.
The building, called the Sanborn Union Hall, was used again by the Methodist Episcopal congregation. In 1888, a Mennonite congregation bought the hall and used it until 1936, when it was sold to the First Baptist Church of Sanborn.
The Baptists sold the building to a local woman in 1940, and the American Legion took over the structure in 1953.
The Legion removed the front steps and tacked on a 16-foot-by-25-foot addition.
Gerald E. Treichler, Historical Society secretary and Legion adjutant, said a set of steps inside the building and the restrooms will be removed on the new site, because the Museum has restrooms.
Read said the front of the structure will be set up to depict a 19th-century church, while other historical exhibits will be placed in the rear of the building.
Treichler said the Legion post, which has 40 members, is now meeting in the Historical Society’s schoolhouse museum on Niagara Street in Sanborn.
In other matters Tuesday, the Greenway panel approved a third year of funding for the Town of Lewiston’s portable skating rink in Academy Park. The lease-to-own agreement is to last four years, town Budget Director Michael A. Johnson said. This year’s Greenway funding is $156,640, the same as last year’s; the 2011 funding was $134,000.
“It turned out to be a great thing. After next year, we’ll own it and hopefully buy a chiller, which is the expensive part of the lease,” Johnson said. ““We just opened Saturday, and we were jam-packed. … Christmas week, you probably won’t be able to get near the place.” The committee also approved another $15,000 toward Lewiston’s Tuscarora Heroes Monument, to which it had given $300,000 in 2011. The statue by Susan Geissler of Porter is to be unveiled at Center Street and Portage Road at 6 p.m. Dec. 19.