By: Tony R. McCray
“Historians in Pensacola should be outraged that a 116 year hold historical house is about to be demolished when it is still in good shape,” said Pearl Perkins, the great grand-daughter of the African-American builder-financier-City of Pensacola Alderman, and State of Florida Legislator. She went on to say, “My great-great-grandfather lived in that house, it was definitely his home”. Pearl Perkins was responding to those critics that deny that the house located at 302 W. Romana St. was the home of John Sunday.
Pearl Perkins is a major voice of a grassroots effort to preserve the Sunday House. The support for the preservation effort has begun obtaining additional support as the news that a demolition permit is inevitable. According to John David Ellis, the President of the society, a petition on the internet to save the house has grown to over 800 signatures. Ellis, also, added that encouragement is coming from across the country to preserve the house. “We have heard from Houston, Kansas City, and many other cities as reinforcement for our movement”! The University of West Florida Historic Trust recently offered support for the society in their effort to save the house. The Historic Trust board of directors provided the following statement on Wednesday:
“The UWF Historic Trust Board of Directors would like to encourage the community, property owner and developer to investigate alternatives to the demolition of the John Sunday House and to follow the Architectural Review Board procedures.”
In an exclusive interview with the Pensacola Voice, Charles Liberis, the attorney under contract to purchase the house, stated that, “I have no desire to see the Sunday House destroyed. In fact, I would like to see it moved to a site where it can serve as an asset to the community”! The demolition permit which was issued was issued Tuesday, June 28th, which could end the preservation debate has not been appealed, and the developer is receiving bids on the tearing down of the two story house. When asked what is the window for a group to come together to move the house to preserve it, Liberis responded that since he does not know who will receive the bid that he cannot project the window of opportunity for such a group to organize.
Ellis, in response to this story, stated that the objective of the John Sunday Society is to preserve the house at its original site. However, he stated that he has heard of a local effort to that is organizing the house to another location.
Derek Cosson reported, “ Our last best option is to put our money where our mouths are, as it were, and raise enough money to show the home’s current owners and the developer how much we as a community value this house and its history. Please take a moment to visit the link below and donate if you can. If we’re unsuccessful, any funds collected will be given to the UWF Historic Trust to develop exhibits and other materials about John Sunday.https://www.gofundme.com/johnsundayhouse