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Date of Issue: May 13, 2009

Burton Store renovations include 'green' touches

The Burton Store in Cortez may soon go green in a big way, and we’re not talking paint colors for the historic structure.

The store, located to the east of the historic 1912 schoolhouse, now Florida Maritime Museum off 119th Street in Cortez, could soon become an “off-the-grid” structure with its own power and water sources.

Cortez historic site manager Roger Allen told Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage members at the group’s annual meeting last week that the building is undergoing renovations. Grants will be sought to make the building environmentally friendly to create passive air-conditioning and water usage.

“The state-of-the-art in green construction is changing almost daily,” Allen said. “We’re trying to keep up with it all.”

The store started its life in 1896 when William Bratton built a small building on his dock. He soon leased it to Jesse Burton, who developed it as a small general store, post office and community center. His family lived upstairs.

A couple of rooms were added as rentals in 1900, then in 1906 the building was expanded to hotel size and it became the Albion Inn, with the original store attached. When the hurricane of 1921 hit the village, it destroyed nearly all of Cortez except the Albion, the store, and the brick schoolhouse built nine years earlier.

FISH President Allen Garner gave meeting attendees an update on ongoing activities of the 732-member group:

• Discussions are ongoing, although without much success, to acquire lots owned by Iris LeMasters in the center of the 100-acre Preserve property. She had indicated a desire to build on the land; FISH has attempted to buy her property, but yet to no avail.

• The 2009 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival held in February raised more than $80,000 for FISH projects, Garner said.

FISH members re-elected David Zaccagnino, Kim McVey and Sheila Mora as board members, and added Jane von Hahmann as a new officer.