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Joan Hill's home before the demolition. Bob Molter, her brother, built it for her family 32 years ago. It was the first of the two family homes to be removed to make way for the widening of Pine Island Road.
Joan Hill's home before the demolition. Bob Molter, her brother, built it for her family 32 years ago. It was the first of the two family homes to be removed to make way for the widening of Pine Island Road. / Cristela Guerra/news-press.com
Joan Hill's home following the demolition. Workers began at noon on Nov. 19 and by 12:30 p.m. it was down. / CRISTELA GUERRA/THE NEWS-PRESS

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The house came down while the Molter family celebrated Bob Molter’s 57th birthday.

Inside Martha Wortman’s home at the back of the five-acre property, the siblings ate lasagna and salad and cake. Afterward, they sat on a truck bed while a backhoe claw knocked down a structure Bob built 32 years ago.

This home sat a few feet away from the home where all 11 Molter siblings — one of Cape Coral’s first pioneer families — were raised. That historic structure, placed there in 1949 by their father Jake Molter, will be the next to be demolished to make room for the widening of Pine Island Road from two lanes to four. It will be accompanied by at least two more birthday celebrations at the end of December and beginning of January.

The home that came down Monday was made for Bob’s sister Joan Hill so she and her husband could raise their family. It had two main bedrooms and a sunken living room, Bob said. Plants used to cover the main entrance, shading it from the sun and hiding the home from the road.

“Joan said it took me eight months to build,” Bob said.

“But I say six. It was a good sized house at 1,500 square feet.”

The demolition began at noon. By 12:30 p.m. the house was at ground level, according to Pat Molter Emerson.

Hill’s daughter, Kelli Bonner of Fort Myers, sat on the porch and said goodbye as the house she grew up in turned into a pile of debris.

She quietly reflected and made sure she took pictures and got a video for posterity.

Despite the sounds of the workers outside, the family prepared for Thanksgiving, grand-babies were swooned over and the siblings enjoyed having their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren home for the holidays.

Dinner for this clan included preparing 15 pounds of mashed potatoes, homemade pumpkin pie and two turkeys.

“You always have leftovers,” Molter Emerson said. “You don’t ever run out of food.”

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