[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=daviddickeyjr.” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″]Panorama[/media-credit]

An urban pioneer uncovered a big surprise when she started converting a commercial building on Munn Park into her residence: The white plaster in her spacious living room had been hiding a well-preserved Coca-Cola sign that was painted on a brick wall more than 100 years ago. There was a Bull Durham tobacco sign, too.

Pat Landreth got another surprise last month: Her work to preserve the past at 115 N. Kentucky Ave., a building constructed in 1905, was recognized by Historic Lakeland Inc. with a preservation award.

“I’m surprised because I didn’t build it for the city. I  just built it for me,” Landreth told the audience gathered at the Polk Theatre for the awards ceremony May 22.  “When people asked why I wanted to live downtown, they asked me (whispering conspiratorially), ‘Why?  There … are … homeless … people.’ “

But Landreth loves having a balcony over Munn Park (“This is my mini-Manhattan and that’s my Central Park”) and living in a place where she can walk pretty much everywhere she goes. A psychiatrist, she uses her car mostly to get to work at Lakeland Regional Health.

“I have loved that building. I saved everything I could for its history,” she said at the awards ceremony. “It’s great living downtown and it’s great to be recognized for investing in downtown, because not a lot of people have done it yet, but I think they will.”

[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The design: minimalist; the designer: the owner | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Minimalist kitchen | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The kitchen table was made from a hemlock tree felled by the owner’s father and grandfather 70 years ago. | David Dickey Jr.
[/media-credit] The kitchen table was made from a hemlock tree felled by the owner’s father and grandfather 70 years ago. | David Dickey Jr.

The large Coca-Cola and Bull Durham signs required no restoration, just sealing. The commercial signs have become the focal centerpiece of an open living space that blends early 20th Century and ultra-modern.

Landreth says she laughs when people ask her for the name of the style or who she used as a decorator. She just uses things she likes and arranges them according to her minimalist sensibility, she said.

She bought the building in 2013 after seeing an article in The Ledger saying Arts on the Park was trying to sell it because upkeep costs had become too great.

“By noon I was in the building and by the next day I had made an offer,” she said at the awards ceremony. The purchase closed a month later — August 2013 — with a pricetag of $220,000, according to the Polk Property Appraiser’s Office.

Landreth renovated the second floor into her home and built a three-story addition in the rear that includes a garage and roof-level garden and patio. After renovations, the 20-foot-wide home reached 187 feet in depth.

[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Third-floor garden patio | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Spanish porcelain dominates in floors in the rear addition | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The rooftop garden features heirloom tomatoes | David Dickey Jr.

The first floor is being leased to the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, which uses it as a downtown welcome center and office space it shares with Lakeland Vision.

The records are hazy as to when the signs that dominate the second story were painted and why they were covered, but Lakeland history professionals Jim Edwards and Emily Foster offer the same theory:

After a 1904 fire destroyed the wooden buildings just east of Munn Park, they were replaced with sturdier brick structures. Most likely the building just north of Landreth’s house was built first. When rail agent and real estate mogul Salvedo Raymondo built Landreth’s building in 1905, he apparently attached directly onto his neighbor’s building and plastered over the then-new signs.

Raymondo’s building originally included four storefronts opening onto Kentucky Avenue, but three of them were torn down in the 1920s to make room for the S.H. Kress building, which now houses Explorations V Children’s Museum.

[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Hallway with an arched doorway that echoes the original windows | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Office | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] An elevator was included in the rear addition. | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Bull Durham in the bedroom | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The Bull Durham sign continues into the closet off the master bedroom | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The bathroom includes a doorless shower | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] The tub that was already in the house was re-enameled. It’s thought to be from the 1920s. | David Dickey Jr.
[/media-credit] The tub that was already in the house was re-enameled. It’s thought to be from the 1920s. | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Several bottles were found during renovation | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Some of the LED lights slowly change hues | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Stairway and modern light fixture | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Elevator call button | David Dickey Jr.
[media-credit name=”David Dickey Jr. ” link=”https://www.facebook.com/DPDickey” align=”alignnone” width=”1024″][/media-credit] Bathroom lighting | David Dickey Jr.

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a beautiful home and I am proud to say that I was a large part of it restoring it. I saw it in the paper for sale; we fell in love with it together; we designed it together and then, unfortunately, we divorced. Pat has the building now and has done a fantastic job of moving the home forward, finishing the first floor and securing a tenant — the perfect tenant for the building. She has reworked the rooftop deck to make it far more hospitable that before, and the heirloom tomatoes are all her. In fact, they are from the original Landreth Seed Company. That’s all Pat. But the rest of it, the rest of it is us. We did it together and I’m proud to say so in this forum.

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