Alva cottage that attracted migratory birds including painted buntings falls into disrepair, is demolished
Alva cottage that attracted migratory birds including painted buntings falls into disrepair. It is demolished to make room for new home.
Andrew West, Fort Myers News-Press
Metal roof crumpling, beams splintering, ductwork trailing like streamers, a house that stood on Alva’s Pearl Street more than seven decades met its end in less than an hour Thursday. The little white cottage wasn’t Alva’s oldest, but its 864 square feet still held plenty of small-town history.
Built in 1950, according to the Lee County Property Appraiser, its timbers were salvaged from the demolition of the original Baptist Church on S.R. 78, across from The Alva School. Its first owner Moss Farmer served as principal there from 1956 to 1969, while his wife, Flora, was known as the unofficial mayor of the Caloosahatchee riverfront town, the oldest in Lee County. When the home passed to their daughter, Lois, and her pastor husband, Leon, it became a magnet for binocular-draped birders.
The Whites, avid internationally traveled birders themselves, cheerfully welcomed throngs of two-legged visitors – with and without feathers. When they weren’t in Michigan, the couple kept four or five front-yard feeders stocked, attracting scores of birds including goldfinches, jays, cardinals and brilliant buntings: indigo and painted buntings mostly, until 2008, when their yard became the site of what’s believed to be the first-ever sighting of a lazuli bunting in Lee County.
But in recent years, the old wooden house fell into decline, as old wooden places do in the subtropics, and Thursday, heavy equipment began tearing it down to make way for a new block home. Contractor Tommy Lee Cook, of World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar fame, is building a new concrete block house one in its place, single-story, with a sloped tin roof he promises will fit the neighborhood aesthetic while sparing the lot’s big mossy live oaks and towering slash pine.