RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Amid the boats in bustling Riviera Beach Municipal Marina is something odd, something unexpected floating right on the water. Get a bit closer and it is as clear as the currents it sits on. It is a house. It sits empty, on a barge and in need of repair.
Anthony Miller, of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, knows where it came from. The two-story homestead was built on Palm Beach island in 1903. It is said that it was home to the engineer behind Henry Flagler's plans to dredge the Lake Worth Inlet and, in turn, create Peanut Island.
"It's a bit of a shame because I feel like there is very little history left in Florida," said Miller.
Over a year ago, the home was lifted from its foundation to make way for new construction. It was moved to the water with its fate uncertain.
"I don't think it's in anybody's way," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Karen Marcus. She and others envisioned the home at Yesteryear Village at the South Florida Fairgrounds. "We want this building, this facility, to be successful," she said.
Miller, meanwhile, wanted the home to land on Peanut Island, paying respect to the hard work of the people who once lived inside the century old home.
"I feel that this is something that is very important for the future, for people to understand where all this has come from," he said. "Any home we find for it is better than no home."
But the family that owns the home now, the Stambaughs of Palm Beach, says neither Yesteryear Village nor Peanut Island are options at this point. The family has handed the keys to someone else; Jim Vance, a Palm Beach contractor who plans to pour $100,000 in restorations into the home.
Vance is providing the barge on which the home is currently standing. He says he is looking into potential properties for the home in West Palm Beach. That could take months, so those in the area of the marina can expect to see the house on this water through the new year.
WPTV Newschannel 5/WFLX FOX 29