Glenn Curtiss Mansion Falling Apart One Year After $4.5 Million Restoration

Categories: News

curtisshouse.jpg
via Ebyabe, Wikimedia Commons
The Glenn Curtiss House is Miami Springs' crown jewel. The pueblo-style building was once home to a South Florida hero who earned the first U.S. pilot's license, made the first officially witnessed flight in the United States, and piloted the first long-distance trip. He built Miami Springs, as well as neighboring Hialeah and Opa-locka. For all the fame, bravery, and brains he possessed, Curtiss was basically the real-life Tony Stark of the early 20th Century.

That's why the city was determined to rebuild his 1925 house after a series of fires decimated it in the '70s.

"It's an integral part of the community," City Manager Ron Gorland explains. "Not just of Miami Springs, but the surrounding cities and entire county."

Reconstruction was a lengthy labor of love. The nonprofit Curtiss Mansion Inc. was formed in 1998 and tasked with raising the cash. To start with, they used $1 million in county taxpayer money and $1 million from the State of Florida to rebuild the bare bones and put a roof on the V-shaped structure. About $2.5 million in donations and 14 years later, the project was finished.

It took about only a year for the roof to begin falling apart. The large cypress beams used to support the ceiling were not built to specification, and the building could collapse if they are not replaced.

In a January 15 letter to Gorland and City Attorney Jan K. Seiden, SRHL law firm laid out how much it would charge for its services. The firm's rate is up to $400 an hour, depending upon which attorney is working on any given day. Although the correspondence mentioned Carivon Construction as the defendant, Gorland explains they don't really know who's responsible. All of the contractors and subcontractors who worked on the projects are considered suspect.

"You sue everybody and then you figure out who the culprit is," he says. "It doesn't matter how long it's gonna take, but we're not just gonna sit there and wait to find out."

Reporting contributed by Theo Karantsalis.

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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16 comments
Jimbo99
Jimbo99 topcommenter

Oh well, nothing last forever,no more money for those folks to bilk the rest of us with a restoration of this landmark that has been paid for several times over.

el_negro_mama
el_negro_mama

can we stop posting articles about Miami Springs? its miami's hidden secret and doesn't need more publicity. we don't need no hipsters!

room1109
room1109

Will the people who donated money get refunds?  


To start with, they used $1 million in city taxpayer money and $1 million from the State of Florida to rebuild the bare bones and put a roof on the V-shaped structure. About $2.5 million dollars in donations and 14 years later, the project was finished.

David Sincavage
David Sincavage

Of course, any structure will fall apart when it's "not built to speculation"..lol

Ronald Puentes
Ronald Puentes

The city is always quick to put the blame on the contractor without taking any responsibility. But as a licensed contractor I can attest that all renovation/restoration work has to pass building inspections which are performed by Miami Springs Building Inspectors. If the work was not done to code then how did it pass inspection? Did the inspectors approve the work without actually conducting the inspection? Miami Springs Inspectors always give us and other small contractors a hard time with something as small as a door installation but then they approve this?? That should be the real issue to investigate, not necessarily find out who performed the work.

JoseDuran
JoseDuran moderator communitymanagertopcommenter

@el_negro_mama  Sorry to tell you that I went to Miami Springs Middle School and Senior High. It's not exactly a secret neighborhood for us at New Times.

Floydian4ever
Floydian4ever

Big difference between speculation and SPECIFICATION Miami New Times

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.............." If the work was not done to code then how did it pass inspection? "

the article author should have thought of this question and asked it of municipal authorities - no ?

smells like someone got paid-off to PASS a bad job and there is nothing new about that

Floydian4ever
Floydian4ever

@RonaldPuentes they give you and them a hard time because they don't have enough money to bribe them like everyone else does which is why EVERYONE CONNECTED TO THIS DEBACLE NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED. Corruption exists everywhere especially the good ol boy network in Miami Springs

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