The Real Deal Miami

Historic Palmetto Bay home cleared after long struggle

The house was built in 1949 without electricity or running water

November 24, 2014 03:45PM

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Troeger House

Troeger House

Harry Troeger’s historic Palmetto Bay cabin was the site of a two-decade-long preservation battle, but now it’s an empty lot.

Troeger built the one-room, 795-square-foot cabin out of Dade County pine and coral rock in 1949 with no electricity or running water. He lived at the home, located east of West Dixie Highway on 156th Street, until his death in 2008. After the county deemed the house unsafe in 1998, neighbors came together and created the Friends of Harry nonprofit group to assist Troeger and save the home. Last July, the county auctioned the deteriorating house off over unpaid taxes and sold the 7,260-square-foot property for $77,100 to Turquino Development Group, according to the Miami Herald.

The county’s Historic Preservation Board determined that the house could not be demolished and would instead need to be carefully deconstructed, with as many pieces of coral rock as possible turned over to the Friends of Harry. The Friends appealed the matter to the County Commission for a Dec. 2 hearing, but the house was cleared away between Wednesday and Thursday.

The Friends believe the house was demolished without care. “In no sense was the property ‘carefully deconstructed,’” said Bartholomew Motes, an attorney representing the Friends. But Kathleen Kauffman, head of the Historic Preservation Board, contends that the removal was done with care. “They certainly salvaged a huge portion of this house. The fact that they were able to get as much of the coral rock signifies to me they didn’t just take a wrecking ball to the site,” she said.

Turquino would not comment on whether the house was demolished with care. [Miami Herald]Chris Guanche

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