The 111-year-old Stambaugh Cottage, which floated on a barge in the Lake Worth Lagoon for close to three years, is packing up and moving north.
The historic home, which escaped demolition in May 2011, was dismantled last month by its owner Jim Vance.
But the story isn't over for the house which is affectionately referred to as "little house that could." Vance plans to rebuild the home as a bridal cottage at his North Carolina property, The Vineyard at 37 High Holly.
Vance and the Stambaugh family fought to keep the property in Palm Beach County, but kept running into roadblocks everywhere they turned.
"We we're just trying to donate [the cottage] to anyone who could get it up to standard and maintain it," he said.
Vance and the Stambaugh's tried placing the cottage on Peanut Island, Lake Worth, Yesteryear Village near the South Florida Fairgrounds, the Burt Reynolds Museum in Jupiter and a spot next to the Little Red Schoolhouse in Palm Beach. They were shot down every time.
Alexander Ives, executive director of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, said that relocation deals would show initial promise and then fall through at the last minute.
"All of the possibilities, we exhausted them," Vance said. "It was a political nightmare… we just started getting so much pressure from regulatory agencies and we couldn't find a home for it."
Former County Commissioner Karen Marcus, who heard the Stambaugh families pleas to find a new home for the property, said that problems placing the home were financial.
"Yesteryear Village would have been the best place for it, but it became a funding issue," she said.
A move to Yesteryear would have cost the family $60,000, according to estimates.
And when the cottage moved to the barge in the Lake Worth Lagoon, residents were concerned about material from the home leaking into the lagoon or a major storm dismantling it, Marcus said.
Still, Marcus is happy to hear about the Stambaugh's happy ending, even if it's outside county limits.
The Stambaugh Cottage, which local historians believe was built in 1903, was the home of Orrel Gleason Stambaugh. It was located on the north end of Palm Beach at site of the current Palm Beach Country Club.
Stambaugh, who relocated from Oklahoma, was a part of Henry Flagler's team and helped build many of the roads in West Palm Beach.
In 2011, the Palm Beach Country Club ordered a demolition of the cottage to make way for a more modern building, but the Stambaugh family fought to keep their piece of history. They raised $40,000 to move the home to Vance's barge and then transferred ownership to him.
Reg Stambaugh, Orrel Gleason Stambaugh's great grandson, said he recalls hearing his stories about how his grandfather used to throw decoy pigeons up in the air for people at the hunt club to shoot.
"There was a special meaning in terms of our family history," he said.
But the Stambaugh's legacy isn't the only reason the home is significant, historic preservationists say.
The two-story cottage was built in "vernacular style," without the help of any architects, just with the skills that local craftsmen had at the time. And the home still has much of its original Dade County pine, walls, ceiling and original front and back doors.
Jane Day, president of Research Atlantica Incorporated said, "the county and South Florida lost an educational opportunity. It's not so much about the Stambaugh cottage, but more about what living around Lake Worth was like a hundred years ago."
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