Historic house looking for a new home

An outside view of the May House, built by a pharmacist in 1922, on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 in Trenton, Fla. The land beneath the home has been sold for what likely will be a McDonald's and Family Dollar.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

TRENTON -- Nearly a century ago, Ed Q. and Blanche May built a house that was likely among the most luxurious home west of Gainesville.

The craftsmanship that went into the 3,000-square-foot building, such as heart pine wood floors, is still apparent today.

May built the house in 1922 for an estimated $3,000 — or about $1 a square foot. Today, it can be yours for a bargain basement price — free — if you can afford to move it off the site.

But you have to act fast before it is torn down.

Over the past several decades, the home at 114 NE First Street has been used as an office by various attorneys. The current owners, attorney Ted Burt and his wife, Pam, have sold the property the house sits on. Now, developer Twin Rivers Capital of Charleston, S.C., wants to begin construction on the May home site along with property purchased from a local church. Plans call for site preparation work on a McDonald's and a Family Dollar store to begin within weeks.

“I want someone to take this,” Ted Burt said as he stood in the center of the formal living room with its brick fireplace, 11-foot tall ceiling and more than six foot high dark wainscoting. “I would hate to see it demolished.”

When May built the home, he had three bathrooms — unheard of at the time — constructed in a single-story home. It also had an oval window in the entryway and large windows in every room.

Until recently, Burt used the May House as a law office. He and his wife have offered it locally, but no one has been able to overcome the expensive part of getting a free house — moving it.

Burt said some early estimates show it will cost about $25,000 to move the house within Gilchrist County. But, that cost could be dwarfed by the cost of having overhead power lines moved while the house is being transported over highways and county roads. Then, the new owners will have to cover the set-up costs and, of course, all permits.

Local government officials said they don't want to see the historic home destroyed, either, but no agency with ties to the rural county can afford to take on the house.

As the time nears for the developer to begin site work, the Burts are hoping that somewhere there is a family, or a non-profit organization, or a business interested in the home.

Burt said anyone who is seriously interested and able to quickly arrange to move the home should contact him at 352-463-2348.

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