Historic Goodland residence makes its second move
“The next time you move, take your house with you,” said Marziano Gizzi. The Goodland resident, known universally in town as “Giz,” literally did just that, moving his house down the road on Monday, to free up the pricey waterfront lot on which it was sitting.
This was not the first move for the house, which could be considered the ultimate mobile home. It started life over 100 years ago as a fishing cottage in Old Marco village at the northern end of Marco Island. According to the legend, the home was one of the cottages built by Capt. Bill Collier, from cypress planks salvaged from a boat shipwrecked in the Hurricane of 1910.
“The 1910 hurricane dumped a load of timber, and a lot of homes were built from it, including Kappy Kirk’s,” said Marco historian (and sometimes historical reenactor) Betsy Perdichizzi. Perdichizzi and Kirk collaborated on a book titled “Tommie Barfield: Queen of Marco Island,” about the island pioneer.
In the 1940s, said Perdichizzi, the home was moved from Old Marco to Goodland, to the location on Goodland Avenue where it spent about the next 70 years.
“The Colliers moved a number of buildings to Goodland when they were thinking of developing Marco Island,” said Perdichizzi. “They just made everyone pick up and move.”
Given the state of roads and mechanized equipment at the time, that move of about eight miles must have been quite involved, compared to Monday’s jaunt of less than 1,000 feet down the street.
William Glass, principal of G2 Architecture, who did the brainwork of the move, but left the lifting of the structure to the contractor, speculated that the move from Old Marco was likely handled by a barge rather than over the road.
On Monday, after moving to Pear Tree Ave., the home was positioned above a concrete pad on a lot across from the Margood Harbor Park, where Giz already had a studio he uses to create metal sculptures.
Gizzi is a retired ironworker, which helped him when it came time to move the house. According to Flint & Doyle, the contractor who did the actual moving, the home weighed about 40 tons, not counting the structural steel I-beams that were attached underneath to facilitate lifting it up.
“Giz did the whole steel undercarriage,” said Glass. “He said, ‘I’m a welder.’” He placed the beams, cut them to size with a welding torch, and bolted them together to create a framework for lifting.
The house was then jacked up and placed onto a massive “tricycle,” a conglomeration of three dollies, each fitted with eight wheels. Power lines had to be moved out of the way to allow it to pass by, and once the crew got the house almost to its new location, they paused opposite the park, which let vehicles – and the ubiquitous Goodland golf carts – detour through the parking lot. There was no possibility of getting around the house, which filled the entire street as it went by.
“I wanted to move this before Irma,” said Gizzi. “I knew we’d have to prune some trees. But Irma kinda took care of that for me.”
“This home is definitely worth moving. It’s a piece of history,” said Glass. “That cypress planking is amazing – over 100 years old, and as strong and straight as when it was new.”
The fishing village of Goodland, tucked away in the southeast corner of Marco Island but outside the city limits, is known for colorful characters, and letting people do their own thing. But even in Goodland, the sight of a house moving down the street brought out spectators. In Goodland, where everyone knows everyone, the great majority seemed to support Giz – but the notable exception were his next door neighbors, who called him “evil,” and put up a sign blasting him, but declined to give their names to a reporter.
Gizzi was philosophical about the situation.
“You can’t pick your neighbors,” he said. “It’s their First Amendment right to say whatever they want.” Gizzi showed the mark at about thigh height where floodwaters from Irma had come into his studio/garage. He hopes to be in the home in its new location, elevated for protection from storm surge, by Christmas.