The cottage was among the original structures of Whitney’s Beach Resort.
Johnson & Son, Inc. crews were up early to move the Longboat Key Historical Society’s cottage from the Longbeach Village neighborhood to the Town Center site.
Before 6 a.m. Wednesday at 521 Broadway St., crews put the cottage on a flatbed hitched to a truck and moved it 6.3 miles to 555 Bay Isles Parkway.
“I’m feeling just absolutely delighted that we finally can say that this wonderful historic cottage is going to have its permanent home once and for all,” said Longboat Key Historical Society President Michael Drake. “I know I’ve made that comment before, but I think this one’s going to hold for, hopefully, a very, very long time.”
Drake said he trusted the experience of the Parrish-based movers, and the town police escort. The truck moved the cottage at about 30 mph and the entire operation took less than an hour.
“Every time any Whitney house or Whitney structure has been moved since 1953, the Johnson homemakers have done it, so I think the family has moved this particular structure, this is either the fifth or sixth time that it’s been moved,” Drake said. “Again, that’s why you call somebody that’s done it before.”
Drake said the move itself cost about $8,000. It will cost about another $6,000 to have the cottage set up on a permanent foundation on the northeast part of the Town Center site between the Public Tennis Center and the Shoppes of Bay Isles. Drake said he hopes to have the Longboat Key Historical Museum running by the first quarter of 2021.
“There’s not a lot to do to the actual inside,” Drake said. “It’s in very good shape.”
In the short term, Drake said the cottage will sit on cribs before eventually resting on 12 slab piers. Work on that will begin “almost immediately,” according to Drake.
On Wednesday, Drake said he anticipates in the next 10 days or so for the Chiles Group to move the larger L-shaped cottage to 620 Gulf of Mexico Drive just north of Whitney Plaza. The Chiles Group, which owns Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant, purchased the larger cottage late last year.
Built in the late 1930s, the two historic cottages were among the original structures of Whitney’s Beach Resort.
“This is the first time that a Whitney cottage has made it to the Sarasota County side of Longboat Key, which is pretty special in itself,” Drake said. “[I’m] hoping that that brings the north and south end a little closer together.”
Drake said the Longboat Key Historical Society needs the community’s help for survival.
“The most important thing for this Longboat Key Historical Society to survive is for our community to reach deep in their pockets, and start to send us some funds and donations so that we can continue to make this a really nice place not only the residents to come and utilize, but also the visitors that come to this wonderful 10.5 miles of beautiful island paradise,” Drake said.