The unique A-frame house in Wildwood that was scheduled for demolition has been saved.
For approximately three weeks, the preservation advocacy group Preserving the Wildwoods tried desperately to find a suitor for the iconic house that was scheduled to be torn down, clearing the path for redevelopment.
“It’s a big relief. I really wasn’t sure if it was going to be a save,” Taylor Henry, vice president of Preserving the Wildwoods, said after she was told Tuesday afternoon that the house would be spared from demolition.
Stepping up to save the house was Ed Bixby, who splits his time between New Jersey and California. He told NJ Advance Media that until he figures out a permanent location for the house, it will be temporarily placed at the Upper Township property he uses as a construction yard and horse stable.
The house — which has been called the pizza slice house, the triangle house and the A house — has been at its original location on the corner of Bennett Avenue and Park Boulevard since it was built by Glenn Dye in the early 1960s using a Sears, Roebuck kit.
According to The Wildwood Sun by the Sea Magazine, it was never intended to be a live-in house. It was used as a clubhouse for his bottle collector group, where he was president.
Henry said it also was headquarters of a national stamp collectors club.
“It does have a lot of history in Wildwood,” she said.
Its unique features made it stand out along the well-traveled street. With its long roof line that extends down to the foundation and its bright red exterior, it was a house people always noticed, said Henry.
“Even without knowing the history of it, people still are obsessed with that house,” Henry said.
Henry wanted it to stay in Wildwood because of its history to the city, but Mayor Pete Byron said they had no place to put it.
Bixby said his main concern was for the house to be safe, secured and not destroyed.
“In reality, at the moment we really have no idea what it will be, but it will be saved,” Bixby said.
Bixby is the owner of Destination Destiny, a company that offers eco-friendly funeral options.
His one location in New Jersey, Steelmantown Cemetery, is in Upper Township.
He said he wanted to save the house because he has done some historical restoration work in the past and understands what the house meant to the community trying to save it.
“I’m doing it to save a little piece of history and to help out the preservation society,” explained Bixby.
He hopes that by saving the house, it may help the preservation group save more homes in the future.
“They might have a little more juice when it comes to getting things done,” he said.
The cost to move the house will be approximately $18,000, said Bixby. Preserving the Wildwoods set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs.
SJ Hauck Construction out of Pleasantville will be responsible for the move.
“It’s what we do, it’s our passion,” said Steve Hauck, owner and president. He said they move 20 to 25 buildings a year, saving more than a million pounds of trash from going to landfills every year.
Work will begin on Thursday to prep the house for its Tuesday move, said Hauck. They will remove the decking, do some carpentry work and reinforce the flooring. Eventually, the house will be lifted onto a trailer where it will then be split in two — the second floor will be separated from the first floor — for the move.
Hauck said that people need to understand that the preservation of these buildings is extremely doable.
“We just need more people to get on board and understand that we don’t have to throw these houses away every time we want a new house.”
Once at its new location, Bixby said, that’s when the fun begins.
“It could become a caretaker’s cottage at the cemetery. It could become a little chalet at the horse farm or it could be floating on a barge in the Tuckahoe River.”
He said his plan is not to part with the house, but if he did it would have to be for the right reasons, like going back to Wildwood.
“We’ll make the right decision when the time comes for its final home,” he said.