An Extra-ordinary House Move and Recycling Project on Anna Maria Island, Florida

Share Article

It was a tense time on Anna Maria Island when the Angler's Lodge was moved from its existing location over to the Anna Maria Historic Green Village - a sustainable development which is to be zero net energy. The 300,000 lbs Angler's Lodge was moved across a canal crushing the timber bridge causing men to dive into the water to help!

Anna Maria Historic Green Village Logo

Anna Maria Historic Green Village Logo

People ask us why we have saved the Angler’s Lodge. Why let a crucial part of our history be destroyed because someone wants a nice clean plot of land that they can build new houses on? To me, it was the obvious thing to do.

A house move of epic proportions took place on Anna Maria Island, Florida on May 25 2011.

The Angler’s Lodge, a derelict, 98 year old, 2,000 square foot home, weighing 300,000 lbs, was literally lifted and moved from its current location on North Bay Boulevard, Anna Maria to a new home, where it will be recycled and become part of the pioneering sustainable development that is the Anna Maria Historic Green Village. View the intense coverage here;

It took months of preparation and 3 days of heavy work to actually move the Angler’s Lodge. Initially, it was lifted and rotated by 90 degrees and then pulled across 55ft of water over a canal on a bridge that was constructed in 3 hours, solely to carry the house. It was then driven very slowly on the back of a truck along ½ mile of road, to its new home, on the site of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village.

There was nothing simple about this move and despite the amount of preparation; it still had the opportunity to go wrong. New owner of the Angler’s Lodge and owner/developer of the Historic Green Village Lizzie Thrasher2 said; “The building itself is quite fragile. We filled the walls with concrete to build strength, the corners of the house have been reinforced with steel rods to enhance the rigidity, and we put crossbeams in ever room to keep the integrity of the building when it was moved. The absolutely heart stopping day was the second day. This was the day we had to cross the canal. We built an i-beam bridge, covering it with steel plates and very slowly drew the house over it. The weight of the house actually crushed some of the 6” x 6” timbers as it came across, so there were guys diving into the water, trying to prop it up using little bits of wedges! We knew the team knew what they were doing, but it was a very anxious time!”

Watch the action from the day on Anna Maria Historic Green Village's YouTube Channel.

The Thrashers purchased the Angler’s Lodge for $10 from the Anna Maria Historic Preservation Society. Lizzie Thrasher said: “People ask us why we have saved the Angler’s Lodge. Why let a crucial part of our history be destroyed because someone wants a nice clean plot of land that they can build new houses on? To me, it was the obvious thing to do. We had some land and we have a Historic Green Village”.

Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Wood of Ellenton built the Angler’s Lodge in 1913. Mr. Wood was a vegetable broker and owned several packing houses and farms, who subsequently became the Mayor of Ellenton. The family used to travel from Ellenton by steamship to enjoy days on Anna Maria, and named the house “Thelma by the Sea” after their daughter. Thelma was a beautiful young woman and modeled for many publications, including the first ever tourism brochure for Anna Maria. Two brothers Edward and Robert Scott purchased the Lodge in 1972 as a holiday home for when they wanted a get-away from their home in Tampa. In 1992, they sold it to Mrs. Agie Hebebrand, who as the last owner of The Lodge recently donated it to the Anna Maria Preservation Trust, to ensure that it was protected and became part of the legacy of the City of Anna Maria Island.

At it’s final resting place, the Angler’s Lodge was placed alongside the Rosedale Cottage – home of the new Village Café – a house that like the Angler’s Lodge also built by Captain Mitch Davies, the first and one of the most respected mayors of Anna Maria. Both homes were built using the same rusticated blocks.

Says Lizzie “I am so relieved its here and now we have the chance to really do the hard work, which is get the building renovated, make it green, start talking to people about the history and start to use it for a use the community would really like to see. We don’t what that is yet. We’re going to put the feelers out and we’re going to have a lunch here and ask the community what they would like us to use it for. It’s going to be great!”

Whatever, the Angler’s Lodge will become, it will be certain, that like the Village Café and the Sears Cottage (two historic buildings that have also been renovated as part of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village) it will reach Platinum Standard in the LEED3 certification programme for green energy efficiency.

1.    The Anna Maria Historic Green Village is a new development on Pine Avenue, consisting 8000 square feet of retail space, including café and beautiful gardens, for Islanders and visitors to enjoy. The Village aims to create a new standard for sustainability – the first LEED Platinum campus in Florida and the first Net Zero Energy campus in the US, generating more energy on-site than it will consume in a given year. The campus covers 6 lots on the City of Anna Maria's Pine Avenue and at full build-out will contain 7 commercial buildings and 2 rental units. The goal is to showcase the best in sustainable design and technologies while maintaining the unique charm of our historic seaside community. Over the last six months the developers have planned and designed a wide range of strategies and technologies that demonstrate how to foster a sustainable future while preserving the historic charm and scale of Anna Maria Island and set a new benchmark of performance in energy, water and sustainable design.

2.    The Anna Maria Historic Green Village is funded solely, by Mike and Lizzie Thrasher, 2 environmental entrepreneurs who came to Anna Maria in 2003. The vision was borne and created throughout 2009/10 and building work began in October 2010. The first of the retail units, The Village Café at the Rosedale opened to the public on 9th April 2011, with other units opening throughout the remainder of the year. The Thrasher’s personal investment in the Historic Green Village alone is anticipated to exceed $3M

3.    The Green Village is set to be awarded Platinum LEED Certification, the first development of this nature to achieve this in Florida. LEED Certification, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts..

For further information, please contact Zoe Keech, Marketing Manager of the Green Village, at zoe(at)


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print