Historic Phillippi Estate farmhouse wins rehab grant funds

Grant funds will help fund the rehabilitation of the historic Phillippi Estate farmhouse. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The Florida Legislature has approved a $50,000 matching grant for the rehabilitation of the historic farmhouse located in Phillippi Estate Park, Lorrie Muldowney, manager of the Sarasota County History Center, announced to the County Commission June 13.

The farmhouse at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, is the original building that was erected on the Edson Keith estate in 1916.

“This grant is a final piece of the financing package that we have been putting together for the last couple of years,” said Muldowney in a county news release. “Edson Keith was one of the original visionaries who relocated to Sarasota because he saw not only the beauty of the area, but the potential for a thriving community.”

The grant award will be matched with funding from the county voter-approved penny surtax fund, the news release says.The $450,000 rehabilitation project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2013.

Funds from the seasonal Farmhouse Market at Phillippi Estate Park also will be contributed to the project.

The farmhouse is one of the few wood-frame structures from the early 1900s still standing in Sarasota County, the news release says. An exterior rehabilitation was completed in 2010; the renovation of the interior is under way. Once completed, the farmhouse will serve as the reception center for Philippi Estate Park. It will include an interpretive center featuring historical photographs and exhibits depicting life in the early days of Sarasota County, the news release notes.

In 1986, Sarasota County taxpayers approved the county’s purchase of the estate for $5.2 million. “Today, Phillippi Estate Park is a scenic, 60-acre natural area park featuring environmental and historic attractions, including the Edson Keith Mansion, farmhouse and carriage house that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” the release notes.

The rehabilitation of the historic farmhouse has been financed in part by historic preservation grant assistance provided by the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resource, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission, the release points out.

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