Fort Lauderdale’s historic Shippey House receives a two-week reprieve from demolition

By Karla Bowsher,

The Shippey House with its front porch detached. PHOTO: Karla Bowsher/Broward Bulldog


One of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest homes has been granted another 14 days of existence after a three-year fight over the property’s fate.

On Tuesday, city commissioners unanimously agreed to spare the decrepit but historic Judge Shippey House.

Local preservationists have fended off the property’s demolition since a New York-based company purchased it in foreclosure in 2008. They now have until the commission’s next meeting on July 5 to establish a nonprofit organization and a plan to raise an estimated $190,000 needed to relocate and restore the structure, city spokesperson Chaz Adams said.

The Shippey House, which no longer has a foundation, currently rests on thick metal beams in Fort Lauderdale’s oldest neighborhood, Sailboat Bend.

“It seems like it’s some old house – oh, geez, it’s crumbling – but this is the kind of thing that defines a community,” said Alysa Plummer, president of the Sailboat Bend Civic Association. “The Judge Shippey House is a contributing structure to the Sailboat Bend Historic District.”

The house, at 215 SW Seventh Ave., is named after its first resident and Broward’s second judge. Fred Shippey served as county judge from 1920 until he resigned due to illness in 1933.

One of the last historic homes left on Southwest Seventh Avenue, the Shippey House will find a permanent home just a few blocks down the street if its supporters can raise enough money in time.

The civic association hopes to relocate the Shippey House to Cooley’s Landing, a public city park that borders the New River at the west end of the Riverwalk Linear Park. The Riverwalk Trust supports their plan, trust executive director Eugenia Duncan Ellis said in a letter sent to the city commission last week.

After its relocation and restoration, the house will serve as office for the trust and other uses.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler likes the plan.

“As one of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest homes, the Shippey House represents a link to Fort Lauderdale’s rich history. The idea proposed by the Sailboat Bend Civic Association to relocate the home to Cooley’s Landing and restore the structure would enhance the west end of our Riverwalk and enable this community asset to be preserved for future generations,” Seiler told Broward Bulldog.

Jacquelyn Scott, a Fort Lauderdale resident of 43 years, is spearheading the fundraising effort. A real estate agent with ReMax Preferred, Scott involved the Broward-based real estate company as well as ReMax corporate, located in Denver.

ReMax Preferred agreed to accept Shippey House donations in their escrow account until a 501(c)(3) nonprofit  group is established. Company CEO and general counsel Paul Caillaud wrote to John Himmelberg Jr., the attorney for the Shippey House’s current owner, CVM 1 REO, LLC, to request time to raise funding to move the house.

Himmelberg declined comment.

Caillaud also got the support of ReMax corporate, which will be sponsoring a fundraiser with the Florida Panthers and motivational speaker Tom Ferry at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise. No date for that event has been set.

The Sailboat Bend Civic Association estimates that it will cost $32,000 to relocate the house and $158,000 to restore it.

“The commission agreed that it would be a good thing and that they were in favor of it as long as they didn’t have to contribute financially,” Scott said after Tuesday’s city commission meeting. “So the onus is on us.”

For those who would like to learn more about the house or Judge Shippey, check out the colorful history that local civic activist Cal Deal  has compiled and published on his site, Fort Lauderdale Observer.



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