The historic Epler’s one-room schoolhouse has begun its journey to a new home at the Berks County Heritage Center in Bern Township.

On Tuesday morning, 145-ton stone structure left its Van Reed Road berth of 173 years, embarking on an historic four-hour trek to the heritage center 1 1/2 miles away.

Built in 1847, when James K. Polk was the 11th president of the United States, the structure was a school for about 85 years before being converted to a private residence in the 1930s.

In recent weeks, Wolfe House & Building Movers hoisted it onto a series of remote-controlled dollies in preparation for the move.

Spectators gathered to watch the move via MacArthur Road, Route 183 and Red Bridge Road to the heritage center, where it joins the Gruber Wagon Works, Wertz Covered Bridge and other historic landmarks.

It had been scheduled for demolition to make way for an industrial park, but was saved due to the efforts of Friends of Epler’s Schoolhouse and others.

Friends of Epler’s Schoolhouse plans to restore it for use as heritage center education programs.

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