Mount Holly’s little old wooden firehouse was too big to fit through the door of its new home.

So the gable roof would have to be detached, the interior walls braced, and the bottom secured so it won’t fall off on moving day.

“We wanted to make sure the whole building will remain in one piece,” said Jack Abgott, who has helped preserve a few firehouses and hundreds of other buildings during his 40-year career.

At just 8 by 12 by 11 feet, the Mount Holly mini-landmark — most recently used to store equipment — “is the cutest firehouse I’ve ever seen,” he said.

On Tuesday, the roof is set to be removed and, along with the rest of the structure, transported about 100 feet to the adjacent Relief Fire Engine Company No. 1 on Pine Street. The little firehouse will be refurbished as an exhibit in the planned firefighting history center there — part of a $7. 9 million project to centralize and upgrade the Mount Holly Fire District’s administrative and operational facilities.

“Compared to some of the complex, unique projects we’ve handled, this is a pretty straightforward job,” said Jesse Paszkewicz, president of Heritage Industrial Services Inc. in Cream Ridge, Monmouth County.

The firm installed artifacts in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City and also moved Petal, the elephant sculpture, from its longtime home in the Burlington Mall in Burlington Township.

» READ MORE: Saved from a doomed mall, Petal the Elephant still needs a home

With the little firehouse, “we’ll pull the roof off with a large telehandler forklift, place it on the ground, and then pick up the main structure, place it inside [the adjacent firehouse], bring in the roof, and set it on top,” Paszkewicz said.

“It’s a historical building, not in the greatest condition, and we don’t want to damage it,” he said. “We’ll treat it as though it’s priceless.”

What is now the Relief fire company was founded on July 11, 1752, making it “the oldest continuously operated volunteer fire company in America,” said Ryan Donnelly, a fifth-generation firefighter and the district’s administrator.

Two dozen firefighters, all of them volunteers, respond to about 600 calls a year in the three-square-mile township of 10,000, he said. Mount Holly also is the seat of Burlington County.

“We’re trying to preserve the history of the company and of the men and women who have volunteered, and we wanted to preserve the little firehouse by bringing it inside,” said Donnelly.

» READ MORE: Restored Revolutionary War-era barn is reopening as a living history site in Chester County

Said Carl Shaw, who in August will mark 53 years as a volunteer: “Benjamin Franklin started the first fire company, in 1736, in Philadelphia. But that company and other volunteer companies later became [professional] paid fire departments.”

“We have had three name changes, but we are the oldest volunteer fire company in continuous service in the nation,” he said, adding they have log books, meeting records, and ledgers to prove it.

In a Dec. 7, 1950, story headlined “Mount Holly Company Offers Proof of Claim It’s U.S. Oldest,” the Associated Press reported that the Haddon Fire Company No. 1 in Haddonfield, which once claimed that record, had agreed that Relief was the older of the two by a dozen years.

And just last week, Donnelly became aware, via social media, that a certain fire company in the South also claims the title.

The David Crockett Steam Fire Company No. 1 in Gretna, La., says it’s “The Oldest Continuously Active Volunteer Fire Company in the U.S.A.,” according to that company’s website. It includes a detailed account of the organization’s history — including its founding, in 1841.

“I can only stand on what my forefathers said — that we are the oldest continuously active volunteer fire company in America,” Chief Michael Labruzza said by phone from Gretna, a New Orleans suburb.

“Honestly, I don’t know what else I can tell you,” said Labruzza, a third-generation volunteer firefighter. The Mount Holly company feels “they hold that designation and have something backing it up. And our people, long before me, have said we are the oldest and have been continually active through wars and everything else.”

Saving the little firehouse in Mount Holly and otherwise preserving the history of all four volunteer companies that are part of the fire district “is a source of pride not only for our membership but for Burlington County, which is steeped in history,” Donnelly said.

What is now Burlington County was home to the Lenni Lenape people for thousands of years before Quakers and other European colonists settled in what is now Mount Holly in 1677. The township is the site of the Battle of Ironworks Hill, a Dec. 23, 1776, skirmish that drew Hessian troops away from defense of British-occupied Trenton — and helped bolster Gen. George Washington’s chances of victory after he crossed the Delaware two nights later.

Mount Holly’s Historic Burlington County Prison Museum is housed in an imposing High Street building that operated from 1811 until 1965, making it, at the time, the oldest jail in continuous use in America. The township also was once home to future Philadelphia philanthropist Stephen Girard, who lived and operated a store with his wife in a house that still stands on Mill Street.

Donnelly and Shaw were on hand Friday as Abgott, the vice president of Nickles Contracting in Haddon Heights, and his two-member crew prepped the little firehouse for the big move.

“It certainly is a craft, and it’s hard work, too,” said Owen Donnelly, a carpenter from Edgmont, Pa., who is not related to Ryan Donnelly and has worked with Nickles for a decade.

Said Darrell Williams, a skilled laborer who lives in Collingswood: “We take our time with this, because we’re trying to preserve a building. And we haven’t lost one yet.”

» READ MORE: Volunteer caretakers explain the lure of this tiny, historic shack at the Jersey Shore

Abgott, who also is helping restore the Judge’s Shack on Island Beach State Park, said a preliminary but not conclusive examination of the nails and patterns made by saw blades in the frame suggests that parts of the firehouse were “most likely built in the second quarter of the 19th century.”

In other words, the little firehouse may not be as old as local lore would have it — and is perhaps less likely to be “the oldest firehouse in America,” as it is sometimes described.

Ryan Donnelly and Shaw both acknowledged that the structure was moved and used for many years as a toolshed at the nearby St. Andrew’s Cemetery before it was returned to the Relief property in 1970.

Nonetheless, the fire district aims to have the entire project completed by July 11.

That will be “the 270th anniversary” of what is now known as the Relief Fire Engine Company No. 1, said Ryan Donnelly.