I remember driving home from work one late afternoon several years ago and saw what I thought was impossible: a house razing in Key West. Checkout the photo just below and you can see the house that used to sit at 1424 White Street in the Casa Marina area. As you may be aware you can't tear down old houses in the Old Town and in some parts of Casa Marina or the Meadows. Houses that have been officially designated as historically significant by the Historic Architectural Review Commission must undergo rigorous approval process before the structures can be altered. And only a few houses meet the criteria that would permit demolition.
Now look at the photo immediately above. Notice the striking similarity between the two and yet detect the differences. The obvious changes are the longer existent exterior stairway, the removal of the second floor porch "addition", and what appears to be replacement siding. Otherwise the porches and everything else looks pretty much the same. Or so it seems.
In the days that followed I watched the roof of the old house get hoisted into the air. Then piece by piece the old house was torn down. Room by room and stick by stick the house came tumbling down. Then bobcats moved in and tore up the earth under the old house. The site was clean except for the roof suspended in air. A new crew moved in and drilled holes in the earth for new piers. The crews began building the frame for a new house in the space under the roof. Weeks and months went by and finally the roof was lowered onto the new shell. Siding was attached and the exterior was painted. The old relic porch stoop was restored and given new life but the historic bases were kept intact and intentionally not repaired look. It is that old look that tricks the eye and makes one think the house itself is a relic when in fact it was "new" in 2003. Jessica Fletcher would have been proud of me.
This is how the listing Realtor (and owner) of this property describes 1424 White Street:
" Wonderful 2 Story Double Porch Classic. Originally built across town on Caroline Street. Around 1908 it was cut in half and pulled by mules to it's present location. Restored to nearly new in 2003, stone column porch supports and part of roof structure are original and were purposely not replaced in order to retain the the historic quality and character of the house. High End Custom Home Built by Local Award Winning Builder. Chefs Kitchen has gas cook top, oven, wine refrigerator, top of the line stainless appliances. Amazing Two Room Master Suite. Mature Jungle Like Gardens Surround the Heated Pool. The Property is Gated and Fenced. Long term luxury rental."
CLICK HERE to review the mls information package and to view photos of this home.
This 2392 sq ft home is located at the corner of White and Von Phister Streets in the Casa Marina area. It is offered for sale at $1,199,000 or $501 per sq ft. This home was built by one of the top residential builders in Key West for his family's personal residence. You can see the attention to detail on the outside and on the inside.
I live one block away and I love this area because it is close to everything. The White Street Pier and Rest Beach are a short four minute walk away. (That's where they shoot off fireworks at least twice each year.) Faustos Market is a few blocks to the north. They have a great little meat counter with in house butcher. The Dairy Queen and numerous small restaurants are in that area as well.
If you a looking for a special place in Key West let me show you 1424 White Street. Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Let me show you the house that would not die.