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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Old Cortez store will move at last
foto and cutline in office

The small 1890s building that grew into the Albion Inn, only to fall derelict for more than a decade, is about to live again - thanks to a Selby grant.

The William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation of Sarasota has approved an application for a $66,200 grant to move the building. The building will go permanently to the grounds surrounding the 1912-built school, now being rebuilt to house the Florida Gulf Coast Maritime Museum of Cortez.

Work will begin very soon, said Mary Fulford Green, Cortez native and treasurer of the Cortez Village Historical Society, which was awarded the grant.

It will have to be soon, said Roger Allen, director of the school rebuilding and of the museum - "It has to be in place by next June 15, under terms of the grant."

Debra M. Jacobs, president and chief executive officer of the Selby Foundation, came to the village recently to see the old store, and became very enthusiastic about the entire historic renovation project, said Green. The project will include the museum, the newly named Schoolhouse Preserve surrounding the museum-to-be, the adjacent FISH Preserve, which the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage has bought for public use, and the historic Pillsbury Boat Shop donated from Palmetto, now awaiting transport to the grounds. The entire school/museum project has been made possible by the Manatee County clerk of the circuit court, Chips Shore, Green told her.

The small building was built on pilings and a dock ran out into the sound to accommodate steamships. It was part of what eventually was expanded into the Albion Inn, the only building in the village that survived when an unexpected hurricane in the mid-1920s leveled Cortez. It remained a store, post office and gathering place for Cortezians.

In the early 1990s the Albion Inn was demolished to make way for the new Station Cortez building of the U.S. Coast Guard, throwing a terrible fright into a village which is very conscious of its heritage.

By the time Cortezians could mobilize, the other end of the inn had been torn down - "They started at the other end from the store and demolition got stopped at the last minute," said Allen. The store part was sawed off the inn and ended up on the mover's trailer in space donated by Calvin Bell across the street from the Bell Fish Company and Station Cortez.

The Selby grant is sufficient for putting in foundations, moving the building and getting fairly deep into renovations - "We'll do the interior as far as the money will stretch," said Green. Volunteers will save a lot of the grant funding, as volunteers always do in Cortez.

And Green already has applied for a $4,500 grant from the Parker Foundation to pay for the engineering