The Longboat Key Town Commission could write the next chapter of history for the Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub Rufus P. Jordan House.
If restaurant owner Ed Chiles gets his wish, that will include gatherings in the old house; if residents of the surrounding Longbeach Village have their way, the commission will deny Chiles’ request when commissioners re-hear the project at a future date.
It’s not the first time the old house has been at the center of a storm.
Early Longboat Key resident Rufus Jordan bought the Mar Vista property in 1911. He built what’s now known as the Jordan House in 1915 with white cement blocks from the Sears Roebuck block-making machine.
It’s one of approximately a dozen structures still standing that survived a 1921 hurricane that destroyed most of the Key.
Rufus Jordan originally built the home as a private residence for his wife, Annie, and him. After his death, she sold it to Wayne and Dorothy Thomas, who then sold it to C.S. Hasbrouck in 1936, according to Ralph Hunter’s “From Calusas to Condominiums.”
Hasbrouck then sold it in 1940 to Wayne and Marion Sipe, who subdivided the house into five apartments two years later.
The Sipes sold the Mar Vista property to Don Smith and Capt. Wayne Nimmo in 1947. They built the Pub Cocktail Lounge and designated it a fish camp.
In 1950, Edward and Charlotte Sibole bought the property.
The Mar Vista restaurant grew in popularity during the 24 years in which the Siboles operated it. During that time, they continued to lease out the apartments in the Jordan House.
Longtime Colony Beach & Tennis Resort owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber bought Mar Vista in 1974.
Klauber recalls the Mar Vista restaurant as “really fun” during his 16 years of ownership.
And the Jordan House?
“That was Tommy Klauber’s bedroom,” he said, referring to his son, who he estimates lived there for five or six years. Today Tommy Klauber owns Pattigeorge’s on Longboat Key and Polo Grill & Bar in Lakewood Ranch.
Chiles bought Mar Vista in 1990. Today, the Jordan House is used for storage and office space.
Regardless of its future use, the structure has its place in history:
In August 2005, the National Park Service added the Rufus P. Jordan House to the National Register of Historic Places.