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Hotel Jacaranda Continues Preservation Efforts

Submitted by on August 11, 2014 – 11:38 amNo Comment

Hotel Jac exterior 500pxThe Hotel Jacaranda, downtown Avon Park’s historic landmark, has completed a restoration project aimed at preserving the hotel’s original look.

From March to July, dozens of the hotel’s weathered windows were restored as part of an ongoing preservation project by the South Florida State College (SFSC) Foundation, Inc. The project was supported by funding from the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources.

The windows, damaged by years of exposure to Florida’s sun and humidity, needed immediate attention, according to an assessment by an architect from the firm of Burke Hogue Mills Inc. The project called for keeping the original wood components and glass intact to preserve the windows’ historic quality. The windows were installed in the late 1920’s and made from locally produced lumber.

Located within Avon Park’s historic district along Main Street, the Hotel Jacaranda serves overnight guests, visitors to its dining room, and as a residence for students enrolled at SFSC.

“These windows, as does all of ‘the Jac,’ recall a bygone era,” said Donald Appelquist, executive director of the foundation.  “They’re the old-style sashes with cotton cords and weights—you just don’t see these anymore.”

The SFSC Foundation secured $50,000 in state matching funding through a competitive process overseen by the Bureau of Historic Preservation of the Division of Historical Resources, an agency of the Florida Department of State.  This award marks the second year the SFSC Foundation received state funding to preserve the Hotel Jacaranda’s historic integrity. Last year the state awarded $47,495 to the Foundation for an upgrade to the two-story building’s ageing water pipes.

“We were delighted the Bureau of Historic Preservation saw merit in keeping the hotel’s original look intact for future visitors. It demonstrates the value the historic preservation community places on protecting the Hotel Jacaranda,” Appelquist said.

This project builds on 25 years of preservation work of the interiors and exteriors of the building, which the SFSC Foundation acquired in 1990. 

The windows were removed from the hotel and shipped to CCS Restoration, a Sanford-based firm specializing in restoring original wood.  The windows were placed in a steam chamber designed to remove years of accumulated paint and glazing. While the windows were undergoing off-site restoration, the sills were stripped of paint that had been applied through the course of decades, bringing the original wood grain back into view.

The Florida Department of State’s historic preservation grants aid in preserving Florida’s historical and archaeological resources through restorations and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures, as well as through survey and evaluation of historic and archaeological resources and education about Florida history.

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