Capen House Might Have to be Floated on a Barge Back Across the Lake in New Lawsuit

This is a graphic we made for our May 2013 story on the Capen house

Remember we told you that a house in Winter Park is going to be cut in half, placed on a barge and floated across a lake? Well, a new lawsuit has been filed stating that if that happens, the homeowners have to put it back together, put it back on the barge and float it back across the river. 

According to the Winter Park Voice, Plaintiff attorney Richard Wilson says there is no provision or ordinance to remove a historic designation, so the removal of the house's historic designation can't happen... even though it did already. If he wins, the house may have to be brought back to its original location and put back together again:

"Concerned Citizens for Historic Preservation, Inc., requests that this Court issue a mandatory injunction, compelling Defendant 520 N. Interlachen, L.L.C. to return the property to its condition before the historic landmark designation was wrongfully rescinded."

Built in 1885 by one of Winter Park's founding citizens, the Capen House is one of the oldest homes in Winter Park. In 2011, it was placed on the city's historic register. A year later, SunTrust, holder of the property's montage that was in foreclosure, requested the historic designation be removed. The removal of the designation allowed for the home to be torn down. 

It was was announced in May 2013 that if the house was not moved, it would be torn down to make way for a new lakeside mansion. The house was offered for free to anyone who would move it. The new owner even offered up $10,000 of his own money to help with the move.

The announcement of the possibility of the house being destroyed caused a major local uproar. The deadline to move the house came and went without anyone coming forward to save the house. The Winter Park City Council could do little to save the house, even while it rewrote the historic preservation ordinance that was modeled on a City of Gainesville ordinance.

The Capen House owners agreed to extend their deadline at the pleading of the community. That extension allowed for a unique proposal to save the house: the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens has agreed to move the house to their gardens. The move and restoration will cost at least $625,000 to $650,000.