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Date of Issue: November 09, 2006

Building's move through Cortez cleared

Permits in hand at long last, movers are ready to shift the historic Burton Store from one side of Cortez to the other any day (or night) now.

Manatee County has approved the move with the necessary official permits, the wires across the route are ready for clearance, and the mover is poised. He will set the date and time himself - Brett Johnson of R.E. Johnson & Son.

It can be a daytime or night move, said Roger Allen, manager of Cortez historic sites for the county. The wires across the route will be raised or lowered, whichever is needed, by the companies involved.

Of those, Bright House has said it will donate its $6,000 worth of work to the cause as a charitable donation, Florida Power & Light has trimmed its costs to $1,500, and Verizon has yet to react to Allen's suggestion that it donate its $7,425 estimated cost to the project.

The historic store will be moved from the 124th Street lot where it has been waiting for years up on blocks, east through the historic fishing village and across 119th Street to the grounds of the 1912-built schoolhouse, now renovated as the home of the Florida Maritime Museum.

Once there, the store will be secured atop a foundation that has been in place for weeks, courtesy the Marie Selby Foundation. Selby gave the project $68,000 for the job, as well as "tremendous patience and extensions of the time for the grant so we could get it all in place," said Allen.

He also credited the county commission and staff with great support for the old store as well as the school.

The store is one of the earliest buildings in Cortez, built by William Bratton in 1896 and leased to Jesse Burton. He ran a general store and post office and it became the center of the community. He later added a few rooms to rent, and it ended up as the Albion Inn, which ultimately grew to eclipse the store. The Albion, the attached store and the school were nearly the only surviving buildings of a hurricane that leveled the village in 1921.

The Albion was razed to make way for the U.S. Coast Guard's Station Cortez and the store was rescued by the Cortez Village Historical Association.