NORWAY — Five years after the iconic Gingerbread House was moved 80 feet down Main Street to a site near Butters Park, Friends of the Gingerbread House are opening up the partially restored 1851 building to celebrate the anniversary and the building’s future.

The Friday open house aims to showcase the late afternoon sun streaming through newly restored windows and other renovations done over the past five years.

Joan Beal and other members of the Friends of the Gingerbread House are inviting friends, donors and supporters to see the improvements and to help launch the “Cash for Color” campaign to raise money to paint the exterior of the house in colors in keeping with its 19th-century era.

Beal said there will be door prizes, a raffle for a new Vito DeVito print of the Norway Library, a chance to buy Gingerbread House Advent Calendars, books and cards, and the opportunity to view possible color choices for the exterior. Refreshments will be served.

Late in the afternoon on June 5, 2011, James Merry and his sons of the Scarborough-based James G. Merry Building Movers pulled the building off the curbing and away from its home of more than 150 years. The building was moved down the street toward the new site as hundreds of residents lined the street and the Unitarian Church bell tolled.

Since that time, members of the organization have raised money to do restorative work on the three-story landmark about 80 feet long and 20 feet wide.

A new roof and foundation have been installed, many of the original windows have been restored, and the group has begun to repair and paint the clapboard siding, Beal said. The group recently met with Nancy Barba of Barba and Wheelock, an architecture and preservation firm, to discuss the next steps in the consideration of future uses of the building.

C’s Inc., a real estate holding company affiliated with Sun Media Group, publishers of the Sun Journal and Advertiser-Democrat, agreed late in 2008 to delay demolition of the house if anyone could figure out a way to move the massive house off site. A group of volunteers, the Friends of the Gingerbread House, banded together to save the landmark building.

Originally known as the Evans-Cummings House, the Gingerbread House with its octagonal tower has graced the north entrance to the downtown.
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On Friday, June 3, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Friends of the Gingerbread House will open the doors to the front parlor of the house, which sits next to Pennesseewassee Stream in Norway.


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