Shore Haven's journey from Bird Lane to the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village is now complete.
Though the final leg of the journey took longer than expected, the 1,500 square-foot home finally arrived at the Village Wednesday morning after several hours of rolling at a turtle's pace from the shoreline at Dixie Beach Road to Periwinkle Way and, ultimately, to the Village on Dunlop Road.
All that remains is for the structure to be put on its new foundation pad and restored.
The Shore Haven house is set on wheels for a smooth move.
"This was just the first step and not the hardest step," said Museum president Alex Werner. "We have money in reserves, but we will be asking residents for donations for the restoration. There's a lot more carpentry work than we expected that needs to be done. There's some dry rot on windows and we found some problems underneath when it was raised up, plumbing and electrical and the air conditioning upgrades."
Shore Haven's seven-month journey, that required various permits and resolutions approved through the Sanibel Plan Commission and City Council, really got going in recent weeks as it was lifted first onto wood blocks and then attached to the wheeled carriage used by Flint & Doyle Structural Movers of Fort Myers. The Sears kit structure, built in 1924, was rolled carefully onto a barge at the shore of the Bird Lane property on Sept. 27. The movers floated it to the foot of Dixie Beach Road on Sept. 28 where it sat for four days as preparations were made along the final 3.1-mile leg of the route to its new location.
Crews from LCEC were on hand Tuesday night to take down power lines along the route, temporarily interrupting service to hundreds of homes and businesses in the area, and restoring power after the house passed. The home started the final leg of its journey at 10 p.m. Tuesday and arrived at the Village Wednesday more than 12 hours later and some six hours longer than anticipated.
Traffic on Periwinkle Way was diverted by police until 8 a.m. Wednesday morning when the house turned onto Dunlop Road.
The move, which cost the Historical Museum $150,000, originally was scheduled for early September, but barge, tide and LCEC concerns delayed it until this week.
At the Village, Shore Haven rejoins its companion Caretakers' Cottage which was moved to a nearby pad in early September. The two-room cottage was once used as quarters for servants and landscapers on the property. The cottage, added to the City's Register of Historic Landmarks in July, sits between the Old Bailey Store and Morning Glories, the latter also a Sears kit home that was an original neighbor on the bayside property.
The two structures were donated to the museum by owners Brenda and Terrence Cassaday of Canada. Werner called the donation a true gift since the family could not use it as a tax write-off as Canadian residents.
The Cassadays have five children and expect many grandchildren in the future, so the two-bedroom Shore Haven is destined to be replaced by a larger home on Bird Lane.
Had Plan Commission and City Council not acted for the Historical Museum, both structures likely would have been demolished.
Shore Haven will be used as an orientation area for museum visitors and the kitchen becomes a warm catering area. It also will provide storage space for the museum as well as allow for traveling displays from other museums. Because of the restoration needed it won't be open for public viewing until April, Werner estimated.
The cottage will house black history displays representing black families on Sanibel.
"That's something we've never been able to do," said Werner. "The museum board has always wanted viable three-dimensional displays for black history on the island, including story boards and kiosks."
The Historical Museum & Village greets more than 10,000 visitors each year. It is closed to the public until Nov. 7 when it again will host visitors 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.
Sanibel Captiva Islander editor Shannen Hayes contributed to this report.