A Huge Team of Oxen Pulled a Vermont Schoolhouse to Its Original Spot

Yes, really.

When was the last time the strength of oxen helped move a building? Well, yesterday.

In the hilltop village of Browington, Vermont, 44 oxen symbolically pulled a historic schoolhouse a third of a mile to the delight of excited onlookers. The schoolhouse was placed on top of a rolling barge—though all of the work was done by an engine on the back.

Even if the oxen were just for show, the move was not. The 105-ton Orleans County Grammar School was pulled to its original location where it was built in 1823. Back in 1869, the school had been moved to Brownington’s center.

What makes the schoolhouse significant? It was opened by legislator and scholar Alexander Twilight, credited with being the first African-American to graduate from a U.S. university. Twilight earned a degree from Middlebury College in 1823. 

The school’s big move was made possible by the Orleans County Historical Society. The town of Brownington turned over the schoolhouse to the society two years ago. The town could no longer secure insurance for the timber-frame building because it didn’t have indoor plumbing or heating. Since the historical society oversees Brownington’s historic district, it opted to move the school to its original location.

Later this week, the white clapboard building will be placed on a new foundation at the spot and fronted with slabs of granite. The education director for Brownington’s Old Stone House Museum told the AP that the building is “solid as a rock,” adding that “it should be good for another 200 years.”

Check out Instagrams and video from the event below.

A photo posted by @jaspercravin on

A video posted by briquarius (@briquarius) on