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Sides split over house of author

Nearly a decade before Marjory Stoneman Douglas died at age 108, the Florida Legislature bought her small Coconut Grove cottage for $150,000, a rare gesture to help sustain the Everglades icon in her last days and preserve the site for posterity.

Posterity soon might be for sale.

A state agency has all but decided to haul the cottage 3 miles south to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a task that would require sawing the stucco and wood house into sections.

Estimated cost: A half million bucks, minimum.

The empty lot then would be sold to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to help Fairchild maintain a modest bungalow where Douglas, writing on a lapboard, crafted the 1947 classic The Everglades: River of Grass.

Eva Armstrong, director of the Division of State Lands, considered relocation the best compromise to resolve a long, bitter battle that has left the home empty and in deteriorating condition.

William "Toby" Muir, Douglas' attorney, and Arva Moore Parks, a respected Miami historian, have penned their objections to the state, joining the Friends of the Everglades, an environmental group founded by Douglas.

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