A little history

Anna Maria City Pier demolition
Scheduled for replacement, the Anna Maria City Pier has been closed since early September due to damage sustained during Hurricane Irma. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

I’m amazed at those who continue to cloak themselves in the Pollyanna notion that the Anna Maria City Pier should be repaired. A notion that last week was furthered by this newspaper in The Sun survey.

Let me offer a little history since many of you may not have been here in the late 80s. In December 1987, the City Commission granted permission to the Anna Maria Civic Association to proceed with trying to have the city pier recognized as a Florida and national historic site. Civic association members worked tirelessly to gather documents and photos regarding the pier’s appearance and significance to accompany the nomination form.

On Nov. 4, 1988, the state Division of Historical Resources recommended the pier to the National Register of Historic Places. Shortly after that recommendation, Tropical Storm Keith blew through the bay and destroyed two-thirds of the wharf and the restaurant building.

Fast Eddie, who leased the restaurant at the time, had the damage repaired. However, after a subsequent inspection, the state found that the repairs “substantially altered the appearance and character of the building” and denied the nomination.

The letter from the state said, “The structure as a whole retains its original dimensions, and the reconstructed building does resemble the original as viewed from the shore side. But the reconstruction does not reproduce the earlier building in either its original or pre-hurricane form and detail, and presents a substantial different appearance as seen from the water sides, due in large part to the loss of the cross gabled configuration that was a major distinctive feature of the original structure. Thus it no longer reflects the historical appearance and character of the early 20th century steamboat landing.”

So now we have a structure that has lost its historical significance and has been unmercifully battered over the years by storms, most recently Hurricane Irma, which caused significant damage. For many months, City Commissioners considered all the possibilities from repairs to replacement, and after weighing all the facts, decided on a replacement. Isn’t this what we elected them to do?

Pat Copeland

Anna Maria