So, who gets things moving around here? The answer Flint & Doyle Movers and Heavy Hauling Company of Fort Myers and that has been the answer to the very same question since the late 1940s. Speakers at Rotary this week were second generation owners and operators Tom Doyle and Manny Flint. This is no ordinary moving company. If you need a business structure, a house moved, or heavy oversized industrial machinery and equipment, construction vehicles and supplies moved -- this is the company.
In 2012, Flint & Doyle was called on to move the historically-designated house Shore Haven from the east-end of Sanibel on Bird Lane to the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village property on Dunlop Road. The moving of this 1924 Sears & Roebuck kit house had to be moved in two phases. Phase one making way for new home construction on the Bird Lane property. Shore Haven was secured and lifted onto wood blocks and placed on a wheeled flatbed then carefully set on a transport barge and taken on water half-way on its journey to the Village to a holding site on Dixie Beach Road. The house stayed at the end of Dixie Beach for a number of months waiting for construction site prepping at the Village to be complete. For the second phase, Shore Haven was flat-bedded down Dixie Beach Road to Periwinkle and eventually placed on the Village site on Dunlop. Flint & Doyle is one of the few companies in the nation that could have made this happen.
How did the company get started? Well, Tom and Manny told us their father's formed a partnership after World War II. The senior Tom Doyle, who was in the Army Air Corp., ferried planes from Buckingham Army Air Base in Fort Myers to Altus, Oklahoma, for storage. Tommy Doyle's experience moving planes would form the foundation for his partnership with Charlie Flint, the owner of a general store and gas station in Buckingham. It all started with an auction notice of surplus equipment and supplies at the Buckingham Air Base. Tom Doyle and friend Charlie Flint put in a bid of $35 for surplus equipment, and it was accepted. A business relationship was formed and the rest is history. Flint & Doyle moved barracks off base and resold the buildings. The senior Doyle and Flint began buying buildings, dismantling them, and sold the lumber for profit. This led them to their first small house-moving project. As their reputation grew, their business grew. They were the go-to guys for moving buildings.
The senior Flint and Doyle brought their sons into the business. They saw a need to expand and now the company is one of the largest structural moving companies in the country and often called on to consult and work on projects throughout the world.
Buildings are moved for a number of important reasons: Historical preservation and site relocation, development of land and the need to move existing homes or business buildings, or structural lifting in flood zone areas or unstable environments.
The moving of historic buildings and structures such as the Langford-Kingston Home at Fowler and First Street in downtown Fort Myers, the small beach cottages of the Pink Shell Beach Resort, St. Francis on Fort Myers Beach, the removing and replacing of the St. Francis Xavier Church steeple in Fort Myers, or moving Shore Haven on Sanibel. Flint and Doyle have a reputation that has continued to grow within their industry and makes them a company not only with a long personal history but a company helping to preserve the history of communities around the nation and the globe. Think of the aftermath after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or the tidal surge from Hurricane Sandy in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Flint and Doyle were there bringing with them construction equipment to help move debris and start the rebuilding process.
Just as this article was being written, it was announced that Tom Doyle Jr., co-founder of Flint & Doyle had passed away. The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary would like to express our deepest sympathy to his family and friends. This company has now lost both founding members, Tom Doyle Jr. and Charlie Flint in 2000, but they have left the company in great hands with Tom Doyle and Manny Flint. The company history will continue.
The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7a.m., every Friday morning at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club. Guests are always welcome.