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Lutterloh looks like a movie set

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By Kellie Parkin

With only the front façade and a partial outside wall still standing, the Lutterloh Building now looks like something from an old film set.

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“I’ve been asked more than once by people walking by if we’re making a movie here,” Don Padgett said with a laugh.

The movie set look, however, will not last long.

The current restoration of the Historic Lutterloh Building in downtown Cedar Key is on time, said Padgett, the Project Superintendent for Anglin Construction.

“We’re pretty much on schedule and on budget,” he said. The new footings have been poured and passersby should start seeing walls going up soon.

Original restoration plans called to recover as much of the building as possible. As crews dug further into the building, though, it was apparent that most of the structure was not salvageable, according to Padgett.

“The only thing holding it together was the stucco,” he said. “Literally, the north wall was just floating.”

Termites had left their handiwork throughout the building, he said, but fortunately they didn’t find any active destructors.

Some of the studs, framing members and possibly floor joists from the original house will be used to rebuild. “We’ve saved some of the studs and floor joists. There’s a plan to put them back in if we can.”

Some of the excavated building material has been saved for a display when the museum reopens.

The new material will be pressure treated and termite resistant. It will also include a sprinkler system for fire suppression.

The new structure will look and feel just like the old building – only in much better shape, Padgett said. “They’ll have a great building when we’re done,” he said.

Historical preservation and restoration are important to Padgett. He has revived several buildings in the Florida Keys similar to the Lutterloh. “I love taking these old buildings apart and putting them back together,” he said. Padgett and his crew have been documenting their work and progress, photographing every stage of the project. Once finished, Padgett said he plans to put the photos to CD and give it to the Historical Society for them to use for fundraising.

The project will most likely be complete by May, Padgett said. And it is possible that work could be finished by April in time for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts. “The weather has been good to us,” he said.

Padgett and his crew do not foresee any delays or extra work at this point. “If there was going to be a major problem, we probably would have found it by now,” Padgett said.