Jupiter wants community’s help to restore historic Aicher pioneer house

A 1913 house that was built by one of Jupiter’s pioneers has been saved, but the town needs help restoring it.

The Aicher House, which was built by Harry Aicher when he was a teenager, was donated to the town on March 16, 2017 by owner Dana Anderson.

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The beige house with metal roof and green trim around the windows is in need of some improvements so it can be a place for people to visit and learn more about Jupiter’s early history, said Stephanie Thoburn, assistant director of planning and zoning.

“We are in need of community support in order to preserve the town’s early history,” Thoburn said. “We want this to be a community project.”

The back of the house, where it was attached to another building at one point, needs to be restored and a deck with an ADA compliant ramp needs to be built.

Historic train depot on its way to Sawfish Bay Park in Jupiter

The town contracted to get the construction design for the deck and ramp, but is looking for professional carpenters to volunteer to do the work.

Replicas of doors from the early 1900s or ones from the period that are salvageable are among the items on the town’s wish list.

“We go through painstaking measures to match the original details,” said Thoburn. “You can’t just walk into a store and get wood for the floor boards. The boards are cut differently today.”

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Once the renovations are completed, the town plans to work with the Loxahatchee River Historical Society to interpret and operate the Aicher House. The historical society is doing that for the FEC Train Depot Museum.

Jamie Stuve, CEO and president of the Jupiter-based society, said the plan is to transform the inside of the Aicher House so it looks like it would’ve in the past.

“It’s a very small house,” said Stuve. “So it wouldn’t lend well to large tours.”

That’s why Stuve and Thoburn believe that the best option is to have people look inside from the deck that will wrap around the house. Thoburn said it would be a “life-size diorama.”

The Aicher House sits near the train depot in Sawfish Bay Park, which has become a subject of controversy because residents are unhappy about a proposal to build floating docks there for a water taxi service.

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Stuve said Sawfish Bay’s 2.5 acres of land is “rich with history.” At different points of history the land held Jupiter’s first school house, first mayor’s home and a fishing wharf.

“It was the heartbeat of Jupiter,” said Stuve.

Originally the Aicher House was located across the street from Old Town Hall Park on Florida Avenue. It was moved to Sawfish Bay on April 7.

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The house was built on property owned by Dr. Ferdinand Constantine Aicher, who was married to Ella May Carlin, the third child of Charles and Mary Carlin, whose families helped build the Carlin House and Jupiter Life Saving Station. Aicher was employed by William Sperry at the Sperry House from 1904 to 1909.

Constantine and Ella’s son, Harry Aicher, was a Jupiter town councilor from 1928 to 1930. In 1925, he married Alma Blount, who later remarried and became Alma B. Holden. He ran the Aicher Store in what was known as west Jupiter and was the Jupiter postmaster from 1934 to 1953. The house remained in Alma’s family until it was sold in 1983 to Anderson.

“It’s exciting because the town is always talking about the history,” said Stuve. “So it’s lovely to see them working so hard to preserve it.”

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