Auction aims to preserve historic Cedar Key building


The Lutterloh Building, built in 1871, is located on the corner of Second Street and State Road 24 in Cedar Key. Funds are being raised to preserve the historic building.

Special to The Sun
Published: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 11:19 p.m.

The building that houses a big part of Cedar Key's history is in danger of becoming history itself.

An auction of work by Cedar Key artists and of gift certificates from island merchants has been planned for Saturday to help pay for preservation work on the Lutterloh Building, which was built in 1871.

Located on the corner of Second Street and State Road 24, the building houses the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum, which drew 8,000 visitors in 2006. Displays inside the museum depict life on Cedar Key from the earliest American Indian inhabitants to events over the past year.

Within only a few steps, visitors can examine pre-Columbian artifacts, Victorian fashions, Civil War-related items, newspaper clippings of tropical storm wreckage and displays on the evolution of area fishing from Timucuan dugout canoes to state-of-the-art clam aquaculture tools.

John Andrews, vice president of the Cedar Key Historical Society, said the Lutterloh Building started out as the home and office of John B. Lutterloh.

Over the years, the building has repeatedly endured encroaching storm water, and the effects of the prolonged water exposure on the wooden beam foundation are evident. Another problem is a roof that fosters leaks. Andrews said the building's original roof was likely a hip or gable, but at some point a portion of the roof was transformed into a flat roof that drains off the north end, a design that created leaks.

"We need to do a lot of work everywhere - the foundation, the floor, the walls, the roof, everything," Andrews said. "We're concerned that if we don't do something now, we could lose this building forever."

State and local officials project it will cost about $750,000 to preserve the Lutterloh. Museum officials are working on grant applications, and they said some grants involve in-kind contributions of labor, while others require at least some matching money.

"We think we need to raise at least $50,000 as our part of the matching funds," Andrews said.

Saturday's auction to benefit the Lutterloh is being held at the Island Hotel at the intersection of Second Street and Third Avenue. It will begin at noon with a preview session of items donated for the auction. Among the offerings when the sale begins at 1 p.m. will be paintings by local artists such as Bill Roberts, wood carvings, and dining and lodging gift certificates from local merchants.

Karen Voyles can be reached at 352-359-5656 or kvoyles@gmail.com.

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