HEBRON — The fate of a historic 19th-century railroad building remains in limbo as time begins to run out for the Hebron Historical Society to move the building to a parcel of land in front of the Hebron Station School.
Society members have been attempting to save the only surviving building of the town’s once thriving railroad complex after annual town meeting voters in April refused to fund a $5,000 request for seed money to restore the building on-site and selectmen ordered it be removed from where it sits on Station Road in front of the Highway Garage by the end of August.
Some selectmen argued against saving the building saying it was filled with lead paint and not worth the effort or expense.
But in June, the majority of School Administrative District 17 directors agreed to allow the Society to relocate the abandoned building to a parcel on the Hebron Station School property but with stipulations, including that the building’s exterior is renovated before it sits on school property and that no one is allowed inside until that is restored.
Last week Historical Society Vice President Bob Swift met with a professional on site to determine if the building contains lead paint – one of the obstacles facing the Society in its restoration attempt.
“We do have lead,” he told the Advertiser Democrat. While Society members were fairly certain they would have widespread lead paint on the outside of the building, they were surprised that the interior only contains a small area.
Swift said the problem is not just lead paint, which he said may not necessarily be costly, but the building needs to be re-roofed and other structural repairs have to be made before it can be moved off site.
“We have to sit down and determine how we handle it,” said Swift of the pressing time element.
Swift said the Society will have to ask the town if members can have more time to address the building issues and get it off site. One way to expedite that is to encapsulate the lead paint rather than de-lead the building, something that would have to be approved by the SAD 17 Board of Directors, he said.
In the encapsulation process, materials are applied over the lead-based paint to seal it to the surface and prevent the release of lead-based paint chips or dust by providing a barrier between the paint and environment.
The Hebron Station School, built in 2002 in the area of the Hebron railroad station and freight buildings, was named for the station. The line was last used by the Maine Central Railroad in 1945. Society members say the proposed site would make the building visible and make it usable for educational purposes after it is restored.
“We’ll have to address it with the town and see if it’s still feasible to do it,” Swift said of the overall project.