Gould goes, but pieces will live on

Crews from Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques work to remove roof and ceiling supports from what was once a church sanctuary.

BEACON PHOTO/ANTHONY DeFEO

Nearly a year after it was purchased by a hotel development group, the end is drawing close for one of DeLand’s oldest buildings.

The Gould Building, at 308 N. Woodland Blvd., was purchased by Avista Hotels & Resorts in March 2015. The Orlando hotel developer will be replacing the 19th-century building, along with several adjacent structures, with a Marriott hotel.

Mark Shuttleworth, of Florida Victorian Architectural Antiques, has a contract to salvage reusable materials from the building.

Salvage work has been going on since December 2015, but it was largely on hold for about two weeks recently as Avista went through the bid process to find a general contractor — a requirement for them to get a demolition permit. 

When work halted, it looked like a tornado had ripped off half of the roof.

Florida Victorian’s crews returned to the site Feb. 8 to finish salvaging materials, including old pieces of lumber that make up the frame of the roof and ceiling.

"Right now we're in the process of taking out lathe and plaster that's in the ceiling structure here in the old church, which was built in 1892," Shuttleworth said. "Then we're going to take the two-by-fours and the two-by-sixes, the roof and ceiling rafters, out."

The roof’s structures consist of large beams made from heart pine, harvested from Southern longleaf pine trees that might have been two centuries or three centuries old.

One by one, the large beams were taken down, with enough caution to make sure the remaining beams didn’t collapse, but enough speed, Shuttleworth said, to get all of the beams down by the end of the day Feb. 8.

Another valuable historic artifact from the building is a series of arches decorated with fans, with marks still visible on them from when they were handcarved in the 19th century.

The building’s wood flooring was also in good condition and is ready to be repurposed.

“These are cut out of trees that are 200 to 300 years old,” Shuttleworth said, pointing to the floorboards. “Some people make rustic tables with these, or they make wall panels.”

At least one Volusia County business has jumped at the opportunity to use the wood.

“We sold 1,500 square feet of this kind of stuff to the Flagler Tavern in New Smyrna Beach, and they put it up vertically on their walls and in the restrooms,” Shuttleworth said.

Also, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse has ordered hundreds of feet of old beams, to stockpile for use in restoration projects.

Other historic items being harvested include flooring and antique brick, with some components dating back to when the building was first built.

Similar salvage operations are taking place next door to the Gould Building, at 121 W. Wisconsin Ave., which served as the home of The West Volusia Beacon from November 1998 to March 2005.

While some of Florida Victorian’s haul has already been spoken for, many of the historic items will be sold in its 112 W. Georgia Ave. shop in DeLand.

Salvage operations will continue for another week or two, before the developer moves in heavy equipment and prepares for demolition, Shuttleworth said.

“The developer seems intent on giving us enough time as we need,” he said. “They’re aware that it was a historic building, and I think they’re sensitive to public opinion that there is much to be salvaged from it. Avista corporation is really giving me enough time to properly salvage it, which is not the normal thing.”

Shuttleworth expects Florida Victorian to take in about $50,000 to $60,000 after all of the salvaged items are sold, though he noted it might take a year or more for everything to sell.

That potential income will be offset by the company’s costs, however. Shuttleworth anticipates the total cost of labor, rental equipment and purchase costs for the salvage rights to the buildings will total roughly $35,000.

 

- Anthony DeFeo

anthony@beacononlinenews.com

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