• Historic Shed is an offshoot of Preservation Resource, Inc., a historic preservation consulting company. Under the PRI umbrella, we have worked on a variety of historic building projects, including the Tampa Interstate Study project in Ybor City. More recently, we began a project near our Historic Shed shop in Brooksville at the Chinsegut Hill Manor House. Settled in the 1840s, the Chinsegut Hill Manor House property has links to many important eras in history including: the initial development of Florida during the pioneer years; the development of a Florida slave plantation and its transformation after the Civil War; the US labor movement including women’s and children’s labor regulations; women’s suffrage; early 1900 literature; the Russian Revolution; the Great Depression and the Civilian Conservation Corp; and the early years of University of South Florida development. Details on its development and history can be found at the Friends of Chinsegut Hill website. We began our involvement in the Manor House renovation when a locally formed non-profit, Friends of Chinsegut Hill, managed to convince the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners that the building could and should be saved for public use, and secured grants through the Florida Division of Historical Resources for the planning and stabilization of the building. Through the first grant, PRI was hired to prepare a Historic Structures Report, documenting the building's past development, current condition, and planning for its future. Investigations of the house revealed some serious foundation issues. PRI, along with a local house moving company, Atlas, LLC, made the necessary foundation repairs. Then the Florida legislature secured $1.5 million in funding for the full rehabilitation of the house. PRI was brought on board as the building contractor. To kick off the project, we constructed a small shed to hold the project permits and store small tools. The 3'x3' shed was placed near a family cemetery on the property and has architectural elements that complement the main house. The renovation work at the house will take many months. Current work is focusing on the building exterior, repairing siding and windows, replacing columns and rebuilding the two story porch where needed. Interior repairs will include lots of plaster work and bringing the existing interior trim back to life. Two small historic cabins are located near the manor house. Both date from the 1930s when a CCC camp was established on the extensive property. The cabins will hopefully be brought back to life once the main house renovation is complete.

  • A couple of weeks ago, my friend and fellow backyard businesswoman, Lisa Burns, of Backyard Getaway suggested that we visit the the Braden Castle Park National Register Historic District. She knew I'd love the diversity of tiny cottages found in the neighborhood. So, the next day, I happened to be heading south to Sarasota and made a detour on my way back north to visit this unique 55+ community. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the ruins of the house of Dr. Joseph Braden. Dr. Braden settled in the area in the 1840s, establishing a large sugar cane plantation. In 1850, he built a two-story house of tabby, a cement-like material made of crushed burned oyster shell, sand and water. Dr. Braden eventually lost the property, and subsequent owners occupied the building until 1876. The house was extensively damaged by fire in 1903 and allowed to fall into ruin. In 1924, the estate was purchased by a group of northern "Tin Can Tourists" seeking a permanent place to winter each year. The property was laid out in 200 small lots, and cottages, no bigger than 34'x34' were built as seasonal homes along narrow dirt roads. Small office buildings, rec centers and other support buildings were also built to serve the community. While the buildings certainly have been altered over the years, and even fell into disrepair during the 1960s and 70s, the charm of the historic cottages can still be seen while visiting the area. To learn more about the history of the neighborhood, go to the Story of Braden Castle and Braden Castle Park website. The neighborhood serves as great inspiration for anyone interested in creating a small/ tiny house village, showing the diversity and charm small cottages can have, and how a collection of them can create a lasting community.The neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

  • The City of Ormond Beach, Florida proudly titles itself the "Birthplace of Speed" with a long history of auto racing that started in 1902 on the hard packed beach sand when automobiles were new and existing roads were poor. After the Winton Bullet won a Challenge Cup against the Olds Pirate by a breathtaking two-tenths of a second in 1903, Ormond Beach established itself as the ideal proving ground for automobile designers and racing aficionados from around the world. Motorcycle and automobile owners and drivers brought vehicles powered by gasoline, steam and electric engines, sometimes cruising at over 100 miles per hour along the ocean side. You can see actual race footage on the beach from 1905 on YouTube at Ormond Beach Florida Auto Races. While autos may still drive along the beach, beach racing is now only commemorated at Birthplace of Speed Park, located on A1A at the intersection of SR40. The park has a series of markers telling the story of racing and provide wonderful views of the ocean. The park used to showcase two replicas of the two history-changing racers, the Winton Bullet and the Olds Pirate, but the ocean climate made maintaining the cars difficult and they were removed for repairs. Members of the Motor Racing Heritage Association decided that it would be ideal to bring back another piece of Ormond Beach racing history and place it in the park to protect the replica cars. The Ormond Garage was built in 1904 by Henry Flagler, railroad magnate and owner of the Ormond Hotel, to accommodate participating race cars during the beach races (and to keep them away from the front of his hotel). The large garage housed the drivers and mechanics during the speed time trials, while the owners and manufacturers stayed at the hotel. While much larger than could be accommodated within the park, the old garage was to serve as design inspiration for a new structure to house and protect the replica race cars in Birthplace of Speed Park. The Motor Racing Heritage Association began fund raising in order to build the garage, and came to Historic Shed to discuss the project. After a few design iterations to make the project more affordable, and a couple of years of fund raising, the project was officially launched at the end of 2012. Last week, the interior was completed and the first of the replica cars will move in shortly.     This very fun project would not have been the same without Suzanne Heddy, Director of the Ormond Beach Historical Society and Motor Racing Heritage Association Treasurer; Ron Piasecki, President of the Motor Racing Heritage Association, Inc.; and Dan Smith, Hometown News writer and  Motor Racing Heritage Association's  "Go To Guy" and the numerous other racing history fans in the area. We offer so many thanks for their direction, entertainment and support! Some more info on the garage project and racing history can be found at these links: A tribute to the famous Ormond Garage 1904-1976 Ormond Garage replica going up in Speed Park City’s heritage on display with new replica garage Green shed marks auto racing's starting line The History of Speed in Ormond Beach Motor Racing Heritage Association Ormond Beach Historical Society

  • Other than a few new McMansions that have crept in, most buildings in the historic Gulf Coast town of Aripeka, FL are pretty small. Quaint and picturesque, set next to the Gulf of Mexico with spectacular sunsets every night, it's easy to envision a simpler coastal lifestyle in Aripeka. In particular, this quaint stilt shack that is less than 500 sf, built far out over the marsh makes one think of relaxing days swinging in a hammock with a cold drink in hand. Located on part of the Old Dixie Highway, the former Aripeka Post Office, next door to the newer (yet not much larger) Post Office built in the 1950s, also is a reminder of simpler days. It appears to be under 200 sf.

  • We received the wonderful image below of a historic shed from Theresa Schretzmann-Myers, the President of the Henry Nehrling Society, Inc. Known as the "Bookshed", the board and batten outbuilding was used by famed Florida horticulturalist Dr. Henry Nehrling at his Palm Cottage estate as a library and office. The "Bookshed" Image from “Henry Nehrling, The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens” by Hedwig Michel Dr. Nehrling was a 31-year-old Wisconsin schoolteacher and naturalist who purchased 40 acres in 1885 in Gotha, Florida, a small community near Orlando. There he established gardens where he could experiment with tropical and subtropical plants year round. By the turn of the century, Dr. Nehrling's extensive Palm Cottage Gardens became a popular destination for thousands of tourists, nature lovers and new Florida settlers. Many prominent people of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and David Fairchild, the famous botanical explorer, visited. Eventually consisting of 60 acres, the estate was Florida's first experimental botanical garden where over 3,000 new and rare plants were cultivated and tested. Dr. Henry Nehrling Description of the "Bookshed: In calling distance to his house, away from experimental gardening 'The Bookshed' provided the retreat imperative to Henry Nehrling's scientific turn of mind. Books, magazines, maps, letters, and all the mail delivered to him from far away lands accumulated here. A small one-room pine-walled cabin the bookshed was just what he needed for meditation, a library, a studio where he could check over the results of his experimenting with plantlife, a well-stocked library where he could concentrate to document, sometimes in English, sometimes in German longhand, all his findings. Here the master-engineer had built his own worldwide network to broadcast his research. He left his desk cluttered up with papers, a puzzle to be pieced together in later years. Not before Julian Nally, a New York graduate in archeology, the present owner of the Old Nehrling Place in Gotha, unearthed Nehrling's manuscripts from old trunks stored in the vault of Rollins College in Winter Park, did the puzzle of Henry Nehrling's superior writing and unique research ability shape up. The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens was not a utopian dreamer. He achieved perfection through strenuous physical and mental exertion, and realized his dream to show plant lovers his garden and collection of subtropical and tropical trees and shrubs, through labor of love. - “Henry Nehrling, The Patron Saint of Florida Gardens” by Hedwig Michel Due to encroaching development, only the 6-acre homestead site of Palm Cottage Gardens remains intact today. Remnants of the original 100-year old tree canopy and many of his plantings still exist, and the house is a charming and authentic example of pioneer Florida life. Unfortunately, the "Bookshed" where Dr. Nehrling worked no longer exists; however, the bulk of his library and writings have been saved and are being cataloged for future researchers. Dr. Nehrling's Home The 1880s frame vernacular style home and semi-detached kitchen were moved by ox-cart to the site in the early 1900s Image from the FL State Archives The Henry Nehrling Society, Inc. was established in 1999 by a group of concerned citizens to preserve Dr. Nehrling's home and horticultural legacy. The Society's first accomplishment was having Palm Cottage Gardens placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2000. Since then, the Society has focused on educating the public about Dr. Nehrling's importance to the horticultural history of Florida. In November 2009, the Society was able to purchase the home and gardens and ensure its preservation. The all-volunteer non-profit Society is currently working to raise much needed funds to pay off the mortgage on the historic house and gardens. To this end, they have established a Friend of Nehrling Gardens, “Honorary Deed Program” where benefactors can purchase an “Honorary Deed” for one or more square yard parcels of the property, at $50/square yard. Supporters can go to the website at www.nehrlinggardens.org to donate, become a member, or purchase an honorary deed. The Society is also seeking volunteers for Fundraising, Public Relations, Grant Writing, Volunteer Coordinators and Treasurer as well as items from a “Wish List” for garden tools. You can schedule a private group tour of Palm Cottage Gardens by contacting theresa.myers(at)nehrlinggardens.org or visiting the website at www.nehrlinggardens.org. Boy and Girl Scout Troops, school groups, service organizations, garden clubs and horticulture groups are also welcome by appointment. For more information on Dr. Nehrling and the estate: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/group-aims-to-re-establish-legacy-of-florida-963035.html http://fcbs.org/articles/Henry_Nehrling.htm A series of three history articles: http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling.htm http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling2.htm http://floridagardener.com/gotha/nehrling3.htm

  • Home Office Shed

    While every historic house that we design a shed for is unique, some places have an exceptional story that sets them apart from the rest. This is true of a property settled in the 1880s Florida wilderness where we installed a 12'x14' shed in November that will serve as archives storage. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is located in what was founded as the the town of Limona in 1876 by Joseph Gillette Knapp, a retired judge from Wisconsin. Knapp actively promoted the area and soon convinced E. E. Pratt of the Illinois-based Elgin Watch Company to settle in Limona and to establish a retirement community for employees. Among the Illinois settlers was a talented watch maker, Charles Scott Moseley, his artist wife Julia Moseley, and their young children. Arriving in 1883, the Moseleys at first moved into a cabin that already existed on the lake-front property, but after a fire in 1885, they built the current house. Designed around a central porch to capture breezes on all sides, the house remains largely unaltered since initial construction. A well, bathhouse, shed and a two-story outbuilding constructed in the 1920s are also located on the site. The main house A still-functioning well A storage shed with the bathhouse visible to the right The two-story carport/ studio The current owner, a direct descendant of Scott and Julia Moseley, has an extensive collection of letters written by Julia to her husband during his frequent business trips describing life in the Florida wilderness, along with photographs, artwork and other artifacts from early Florida life. The archives shed was designed to store these items in a climate controlled environment as well as provide a work space for visiting scholars. Historic Shed was hired to design and build the shed in a manner that would complement the existing historic site. Built on tapered concrete piers to match the main house foundation, the shed incorporates cypress board and batten siding, exposed rafter tails, a custom dutch door and gable-end lattice details drawn from the various buildings on the property. Salvaged historic windows for the shed were provided by the owner and still have all their wavy glass panes. The windows are protected by batten shutters which can be fastened during storms to protect the fragile collection. The interior was finished with plywood walls, a pecky cypress ceiling, and cypress flooring. Cypress shelves and a desk constructed out of large cypress planks provided by the owner provide workspace for historians. The shed was insulated with open cell foam and a split mini system air conditioning system provides climate control. The paint scheme was used on the other historic outbuildings originally, using Julia Moseley's favorite colors. Wood shake roof Cypress dutch door that mimics one on the main house Batten shutters for storm protection and shading the interior from direct light Salvaged historic wood windows Desk constructed of cypress planks provided by the owner Pecky cypress ceiling with shellac finish

  • Backyard Makeover Shed

    Before the advent of indoor plumbing, the outhouse was an outbuilding familiar to all. Now, thankfully, they are merely a curiosity that photograph well in the landscape. Below are some images of historic outhouses from the Florida State Archives. Although rustic, compare them to their modern day counterparts: the Port-o-Let, which have no charm but all the unpleasantness. Replicas of outhouses still look quaint in any yard and make a great place to store yard tools, croquet sets and pool toys. Below is our 4'x4' version:

  • During a visit with a customer a small watercolor caught my eye. The painting showed a shed-like building perched on top of a single pole by a railroad crossing that had been done in the 1920s. Apparently these buildings were railroad signal towers. Located at intersections that were heavily traveled, the signal operator would notify oncoming trains whether the rail was open along the line so that the train could approach without slowing down or stopping. I gathered some historic images of towers in Florida and have posted them below since they make great precedent for playhouse design. Does anyone know if some still exist around the state?