Half-century beach home demolished

With the passing of each summer season, local visitors and residents try to hold on to the memories they made during those special months. But for Seaford native Bob Moneymaker and his wife, Sally, this autumn, in particular, will be an unforgettable one.

beach house: The Moneymaker’s summer home in South Bethany was demolished recently to make room for a new home. The home was built just after the big storm of 1962, before being moved across Coastal Highway in 1978.Coastal Point • RYAN SAXTON
The Moneymaker’s summer home in South Bethany was demolished recently to make room for a new home. The home was built just after the big storm of 1962, before being moved across Coastal Highway in 1978.

Last week, they watched with a seemingly reluctant gaze as their South Bethany summer home was flattened into a pile of concrete and wood in a matter of minutes.

The couple and their family decided that it was best to move ahead, and rebuild a newer home. Their house, which sat along Evergreen Drive, was originally a beach-front structure, resting atop the dunes of Bethany Beach. It was built in 1963, following the infamous 1962 storm that devastated the area and wiped the beachfront nearly clean.

After 15 years, the Moneymakers purchased the house and decided to relocate it too, away from the threatening winds and erosion. They purchased a vacant lot as well, and the structure was moved west of Coastal Highway in 1978.

The house was never insulated, which made year-round residence a challenge.

“It just wasn’t energy-efficient,” noted son William Moneymaker, who also works as the contractor on the project. “It’s hard to move into something like that as a retirement home. When you start to look at the cost of remodeling, you realize that you’re better off just starting over.”

Construction on the new home is expected to begin by the second week of October.

A crew from Superclean Demolition LLC was brought in, led by Sam Connors, who recently bought out Morris Justice’s construction company.

“They do this very systematically,” said Sally Moneymaker of the demolition. An excavator was brought in to demolish the home, while trucks came to remove the leveled material. “I was watching, and they just ripped the kitchen right out.” She was able to grab a shot with her camera as the top floor of the house began to topple over.

“This has been our summer home for all these years,” said Sally Moneymaker. “There are a lot of memories — a lot of love.” She reflected on the memories that the family had shared at the house over the years. “I was watching them as they took away the porch. We used to have a sliding glass door with a curtain that our seven grandchildren would perform at all the time. That was their stage. They would pull up the curtain, and we would watch from the porch. It’s been a lot of fun.”

“You don’t see this every day,” said friend Sally Baker, “but it’s becoming a little more common in this area.”

The entire family would often use the house in the summertime, and memories were made throughout the year, too. “Everybody had a vote in our family, and we all agreed that we should stay here and start over,” said Sally Moneymaker. “Our real estate agent told us to tear the house down, clean up the lot, and we would get more for it than the house that was standing. It’s amazing.”

“I’m eager to get started,” said Bob Moneymaker. “It’s going to be very new.”

“The engineering and construction is so unusual,” said William Moneymaker. “I don’t want to give it away to anyone else. I want to do it myself. Over the years, I did it all: the block the framing, roofing. Since then, I’d started giving it away; but I won’t do it on this one.”

Several trees were removed for the construction of the house, but William Moneymaker ensured that they will not be wasted. “We have some band saw mills,” he said, “where we can create a lot of trim work and other kinds of wood. All of the trees will be recyclable. You don’t find that very often.”

At the same time, there are aspects that Sally Moneymaker is hoping will remain. “We had pine boards on all the ceilings, and we want to keep that,” she said.

The Moneymaker house was just one of the many projects keeping Connors’ business at work through the year.

“We get a ton of this kind of demolition every fall,” he said, “especially after Sept. 15, when they let us into the beach areas. We do all kinds of structures: chicken houses, big houses, mobiles.” Connors’ construction operates 50 weeks out of the year.

For more information about demolition, Connors can be reached at his Dagsboro location at (302) 645-4680.