Grassy Key house relocates during storm
Normally, a person moves homes. In this case, the home moved. From Oceanside to Gulfside to be perfectly correct. This tiny Grassy Key home is probably the most photographed piece of wreckage from Hurricane Irma — widely circulated on social media and B-roll for every local television new station.
That house. Yes, that house.
“I think we saw it on Facebook the very next morning after the storm,” said tenant Joe Rayhill, who is also the band director at Marathon High School. “I wasn’t even awake when my wife, Jodi, showed it to me.”
The Rayhills had a tiny inkling of what was to come. They opted for some add-ons when the security system was installed – a flood sensor and a door sensor. The flood sensor started alarming at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, well before the storm’s full arrival on Sunday morning. And they know the house’s history — namely the moat created around the house after Hurricane Wilma passed in 2005.
The Rayhills said that while the loss of their belongings still stings — some old speakers from his dad, kitchen gadgets belonging to Jodi, and a tux he needs for an upcoming music gig — all in all, they wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“It was a great place to live. We knew the risk. And the landlords were great,” Rayhill said.
The home has belonged to Jim Dalrymple since he bought it in the late ’80s. Reached by phone on Tuesday, he said he hasn’t even thought about what to do with it yet, as he’s immersed in fixing up other, more easily accessible properties around town.
“The home was built in 1933, so there’s some history there, probably related to Flagler’s railroad,” Dalrymple said. “But I’ve never been able to dig up anything specific.”
It’s tiny. And apparently pretty sturdy to have floated across the highway and bikepath in, generally, one piece.