Controversy Erupts Concerning The Fate Of The Termite-Riddled Patten House

Controversy Erupts Concerning The Fate Of The Termite-Riddled Patten House

The state of Florida is well known for the diversity of invasive termites that dwell within the southern part of the state. The most devastating termite species in Florida is, of course, the Formosan subterranean termite. Obviously, government employed pest control officials do everything that they can to prevent the spread of termites into notable and important structures. As you can imagine, Formosan termites can pose a big problem to historical structures located on government controlled historic preserves. For decades the Patten House located within the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park has been progressively damaged by termite infestations. Over the course of decades the state of Florida has spent hundreds of thousand of dollars repairing termite damage that had been inflicted on the historic property. Now National Park officials believe that the house should be torn down as future termite infestations within the house seem inevitable no matter how much money is spent on renovations and termite treatments. However, several individuals who have a history with the home are demanding that it be preserved.

The Patten house is a country farmhouse that is dwarfed by the much larger and opulent Gamble mansion. Today, tours  through the Gamble plantation and mansion make little mention of the Patten house located nearby. This alone is upsetting to the ancestors of the individuals who had occupied the home in the past. The Patten house was constructed during the 1800s, and it has seen many notable inhabitants since then. However, since the 1960s, the house has been uninhabited, and in that time, a tremendous amounts termite damage to the house has occurred. During tours of the Gamble plantation, termite damage has caused many human accidents. For example, one tour had a young child fall through a termite-ridden porch.

In 1925 a group of women known as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, purchased both the Gamble Plantation and the Patten House. The group quickly donated the property to the state of Florida in order to ensure its preservation. However, preserving the house was doomed from the beginning. As of 2006, the Florida State Government had spent three hundred thousand dollars on renovations and termite soil treatments. Despite these efforts, the house is only becoming more dilapidated. In response to this progressive damage the Government of Florida plans on tearing the house down. However, today’s chapter president of the female organization wants to see the home restored to its original glory. The fate of the Patten house is not yet sealed, but since the state of Florida failed to preserve the home, the Chapter President may argue that the house should be preserved.

Do you think that some forms of termite infestation are untreatable in certain termite-rich regions?


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