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168-Year-Old Church On The Move In Cambridge

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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CAMRIDGE (CBS) – To the naked eye it’s hard to see, but there are big changes coming to Porter Square that involve moving a 168-year-old church 100 feet.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Ben Parker reports

Lesley University is rolling the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, later called North Prospect Church, to its new location where it will be incorporated into a $46 million arts center.

The Lunder Arts Center has been in the works for seven years but the most complicated step in the project is relocating the church, which will serve as a focal point for the new building. The church was moved along steel beams at a rate of one inch per minute. The whole process took hours but it was still much faster than the building’s first move in 1867.

The original church stood in Harvard Square, but over a span of 21 days, a team of horses moved it a mile up Massachusetts Avenue to its current location in Porter Square.

The art facility is the most expensive project in the school’s history, but worth the investment according to the Vice President for Administration, Marylou Batt.

“We really think that this has the potential to become an arts district and take on a life of its own,” said Batt.

“The special part about it is that the ground floor is going to be also publicly accessible: a huge gallery, an art library, and we’re going to have classes for adults or kids in Cambridge,” said Dean Stan Trecker of Lesley University’s College of Arts and Design.

The school hopes to have the church restored and the new construction completed by January 2015.

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