Students measure Gingerbread House for move


NORWAY — Sometimes things just don’t measure up.

A group of Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School computer-aided drafting and design class students from the technical school recently went to the Gingerbread House on assignment to measure everything from the doors to windows and floors in preparation for the anticipated move this spring of the massive historic home on Main Street.

Using tape measures and pencil and paper, the students went from room to room on each of the floors piecing together a layout.

What the students found were doors that were as much as an inch different in height, windows that were one-half inch off from each other and other oddities in the otherwise beautiful construction of the former Evans-Cummings House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We’re kind of in a conundrum about that. We didn’t know what was really going on,” said Matt Farnum, a 17-year-old junior CADD student from Norway.

The house, which was built in 1855 by Richard Evans on the banks of the Pennessewassee Stream and remodeled some 30 later by the original architect, John B. Hazen, to the now prominent “gingerbread” style, is set to be moved just down the street near Butters Park in the next few months, if all goes according to plan.

The second- and third-year CADD students of John Bell were approached by the Friends of the Gingerbread House to create drawings of the existing layout.

“These plans will consist of floor plans, exterior elevations and 3-D renderings that will be used for planning, estimating and presentations,” said Bell.

Farnum and his classmates spent two days last week in the building measuring walls, windows, door and even stairs risers.

“There were a lot of inconsistencies,” said Farnum, who hopes to major in civil engineering or environmental engineering when he goes to college.

The students agree that the inconsistencies must be because the house has shifted and the floors had settled over time.

“We took individual measurements of each room,” said Sarah Burnham, an 18-year-old senior from Otisfield. “Then we pieced it together. We were given a paper from every room. Each had measurement.”

“It’s going to be a little tricky. A lot of things won’t really line up,” said Burnham of the final layout designs. “The goal is to get the measurements as accurate as possible. It’s very difficult to tell how accurate they are because it’s (the house) settled.”

Burnham, who hopes to attend college next year with a major in math and minor in music, said the house must have been beautiful years ago.

“I’ve never been in it before this. I think it’s in great disrepair. I don’t know how it will be fixed up, but I hope it can,” said Burnham, who suggested a museum as an appropriate future use. “It was quite a mess. I wished I could have seen what it used to be like. What’s still there is really beautiful, but it’s sad to see it in such disrepair.”

Farnum said he is also excited about the house being saved.

“I drive by it a lot and was always curious about what was inside. I saw so much potential. I tried to see what it used to be like. I really hope it will be successfully restored. I know it will be a beautiful house,” said Farnum. He also suggested the building might make a good museum once it’s moved and restored. “It’s such a historic building — a great place to hold a museum.”

Farnum, who volunteers for Habitat for Humanity projects, said he hopes to engage some of those volunteers to help in the restoration of the Gingerbread House if they are needed.

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