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New Enota rentals use lumber from razed historical house
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Construction continues Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, at the Cottages on Enota, a group of rental homes, where reclaimed wood trim from the Pierce House is being used. - photo by David Barnes

It was a sad day for some longtime Gainesville  residents to see workers demolish the historical Pierce House this summer.

Many thought that the century-old, two-story white house perched on a hill at 551 Jesse Jewell Parkway — which stayed standing after the 1936 tornado ripped through the city — would never come down.

The Pierce House may be gone, but some of its lumber has been salvaged, treated, painted  and integrated into some of the rental homes that make up the Cottages on Enota development at North Enota Avenue and Longview Drive.

On Monday, workers installed some of the salvaged lumber on the last two houses in the 10-home development. The wood has been used for hand railings and columns that support carports.

Stephen Lovett, part of a partnership with Frank Norton Jr. in Cottage Investments LLC, said adding some of the remnants of the historic Pierce House to the cluster of rental cottages adds a distinct and unique characteristic to the subdivision.

“In this day and age where everybody tries to tear down the old and rebuild new instead of refurbishing, we tried to establish a community at the cottages that is going to withstand the test of time,” Lovett said. “What neater thing to do than to purchase something from one of the oldest houses in Gainesville and affix it to this new project.”

Lovett declined to say how much the partnership paid to acquire the lumber from Pierce House property owner Milton Robson.

“If the price were to be disclosed, I think we probably overpaid trying to capture some of that historical significance of that house and its location,” Lovett said. “Essentially, we bought the entire front porch of that house.”

The three-bedroom and two-bathroom cottages rented out as soon as they are completed and marketed. Lovett said rent is $1,500 a month

Betty Howard retired after 30 years with the Norton Agency, sold her house and now rents one of the homes at the Cottages on Enota. She likes that the tree-laden community is quiet and close to everything.

“We kept a lot of the larger, older trees,” Lovett said. ‘We didn’t do  a lot of the mass grading people do now just to save on cost.”