Important piece of history in Northport is on the move

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Chaney Scott

If you’ve driven by the Marathon gas station near the Hugh Thomas Bridge in Northport, you may have noticed some construction–or de-construction–at the park next door.

Two historic buildings, the Umbria Schoolhouse and Northport Heritage Museum, have made their home next to the Northport Community Center for around 20 years. Soon, the buildings will move to new locations, a move that’s unrelated to the potential sale of the Northport Community Center.

The Friends of Historic Northport planned this move in January, aiming to repurpose the buildings. Chuck Gerdau, President of the Friends of Historic Northport, said the group is excited about the move.

The Umbria Schoolhouse is a white one-room schoolhouse located directly behind the 1907 house that has served as the heritage museum since 1998, after it moved from where the Marathon Gas station is now located. The museum is headed near the Courtyard Marriott, on Bridge Ave. and 9th St. to be used as a welcome center.  

The schoolhouse is moving to the Shirley Place Museum Complex on Main Ave., which is also maintained by the Friends of Historic Northport. Gerdau said adding another fixture from history will add to the educational value of the complex. 

“I think you learn from history. You learn from the old buildings, learn from their history, so we can even do better moving forward,” said Gerdau.

The Umbria Schoolhouse is the oldest educational building in the state of Alabama. The de-assembling process started this week. It will take three days to remove the brick pillars and the chimney.

It takes a lot of precision to move buildings as old as these. That’s why the chimney has to be removed first, so nothing is damaged.

The porch will be removed before the museum is moved. Once the structure is at its new location in downtown Northport the schoolhouse will be rebuilt which will take less than two weeks.

The buildings will be moved between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. because that’s when there’s the least amount of traffic.


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