This post is more about the story rather than the photos. Read through to the end for a fascinating tale of mystery and intrigue.
My dream home has been demolished. It was one of a very few single-family homes left standing at the beach. Most of the original beach-front properties have given way to developers and multi-rise structures. I had been saving my pennies to buy the home but the family said it was not for sale. In any case, the $1.5 million price tag was a deal breaker.
It was not even a full-time residence, but only used as a holiday retreat. The family last gathered here for a farewell celebration at Easter. They basically said goodbye to 100 years of memories after deciding to demolish the home and build condos which can be sold for $1 million each. A 3-story building with six condos will net 4x’s what the home is worth.
Beach property is coveted by developers who have covered most of it with concrete and stucco. It pays a premium but at what cost?
You can’t put a price on the rustic charm and character of a home built in 1920.
I was gut-punched when I saw the bulldozer razing the house this week. Heavy machinery leveled everything including the trees. It’s a miracle of sorts that the property was left untouched for so long.
My dream was to live out my retirement years, sitting on the porch, watching the sun rise over the bay.
Out of respect for the family’s privacy, I withheld the rest of the story until after the house was bulldozed.
The decision to raze the property and build condos was made by the surviving children and grandchildren. The man who owned the home was an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He worked on some very important cases including D. B. Cooper and Patty Hearst.
Cooper was the guy who hijacked an airline and bailed out over Washington state with a $200,000 ransom. Hearst, granddaughter of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.
The man and his wife were world-class badminton champions who traveled the world at the behest of then-F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover who thought it would be good PR for the bureau. Competing internationally also provided clandestine cover for the couple to gather sensitive intelligence in foreign hot-spots.
Do you remember the classic TV show I Spy? The starring characters were intelligence agents who traveled the world posing as tennis players. It is said that the badminton couple were the inspiration for the television program. Hoover was very proactive in collaborating with Hollywood to promote his agency.
When I look at a property, I can’t help but think of its history and of the people who lived there. Looking at this home, no one would have ever guessed the rest of this story.
Now the home is nothing but a pile of rubble, and the walls will never share their intriguing secrets. People who walk by this address in two years will see only steel and glass. The charm and character of one of the first homes built on the peninsula will only be a distant memory. This is progress? So very sad, indeed.
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