CONCORD, Mass. (AP) – The birthplace of Henry David Thoreau has been saved from demolition by a civic group that plans to restore it and turn it into an educational center.

The group, the Thoreau Farm Trust, signed the purchase agreement with the town of Concord for the house and two acres on Monday, the 187th anniversary of the author’s birth.

The trust raised $800,000 for the property, and the town allocated another $160,000, the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham reported.

Plans call for the creation of a center to allow the study of both Thoreau – the author of “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience” – and of the Concord area’s agricultural history.

The Thoreau Farm Trust will have two years to raise $800,000 to return the house’s exterior to its appearance in 1878, when it was moved to its present site, and restore the bedroom where Thoreau was born.

If the group is able to raise those funds, it will be able to buy the town’s share for $1.

Eventually, the group wants to build a barn to serve as an education center, focusing not only on agriculture but also on Thoreau’s life as a naturalist, environmentalist and author.

Lucille Stott, head of Thoreau Farm Trust, said she became interested in preserving the site, also known as the Wheeler-Minot Farm, when she learned of plans to tear it down and build a housing development on the site.

AP-ES-07-13-04 1038EDT

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