Historic Lakeland Inc. has honored Florida Southern College, the city of Lakeland and the restorers of nine homes with its highest annual awards, and it named Gregory Fancelli preservationist of the year.

Fancelli, the organization said, “has worked under the radar to restore 10 historic homes in the Dixieland and South and East Lake Morton Historic Districts” and “has worked with private property owners, as well as Florida Southern College and Florida Presbyterian Homes, Inc., to sensitively deconstruct historic structures slated for demolition, in order to salvage historic building materials.”

Fancelli is best known for moving the Tudor House from Lake Hollingsworth to Florida Avenue, and Historic Lakeland notes he is renovating two nearby commercial buildings.

The awards were presented at a ceremony Monday evening at the Polk Theatre.

Fancelli, left, poses in the tower over the Tudor House with members of his team, including Adam Earley, Scott Adams, Robert Lewis, construction supervisor Albert Moore and property manager Grant Miller.
Fancelli, left, poses in the tower over the Tudor House with members of his team, including Adam Earley, Scott Adams, Robert Lewis, construction supervisor Albert Moore and property manager Grant Miller. |

Fancelli said today he values historic preservation as a way to keep alive craftsmanship of an earlier era, build community and a generate a sense of pride. In some cases, such as the Parker Street neighborhood, restoring buildings actually rebuilds the social fabric of the community, he said.

Top commercial/institutional awards went to FSC and architect Jeff Baker for major restoration of the exterior and interior of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, and the city of Lakeland, along with Vogel Bros. Building and Furr & Wegman, architects, for major rehabilitation of the exterior of the downtown Federal Building.

Honorable mentions in the commercial/industrial category went to Chef Marcos Fernandez for repainting, new signs and landscaping at his Nineteen 61 restaurant at 1212 S. Florida Avenue and to the city of Lakeland for appropriate re-roofing of the Park Trammel Building, which houses the Greater Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, and repainting city hall.


923 Cumberland St.
923 Cumberland St. |
733 Mississippi Ave.
733 Mississippi Ave. |

Historic Lakeland named nine residential projects of the year, eight of which are in the South Lake Morton district:

  • 923 Cumberland Street (Walter Smith House), Mr. John French, for front porch restoration, repainting, and interior rehabilitation.
  • 813 Johnson Avenue (Johnson Caretaker’s Home, J.G. Beckler House), Ms. Susan Winter, for front porch restoration and appropriate window replacement.
  • 733 Mississippi Avenue (Angelo Raymondo House), Chuck and Lisa Foss, for major rehabilitation, rear addition, a new deck, and appropriate column replacement.
  • 749 Park Hill Avenue (Edith Sullivan House), Park Hill Properties, LLC, for front porch restoration, appropriate window replacement, repainting, and reroofing.
  • 754 Park Hill Avenue (John Sohl House), Wayne and Becky Shuff, for a major rehabilitation, front porch restoration, appropriate window and door replacements, repainting, reroofing, and installation of a new deck.
  • 125 E. Park Street (J.H. Scott House), Joshua and Leslie Blondell, for a major rehabilitation, rear addition, repainting, reroofing, and landscaping.
  • 728 E. Peachtree Street (Bernice Ogden House), Parker Street Ministries, William Wainwright and Gregory Fancelli, for a major rehabilitation, including appropriate window replacement, repainting, and reroofing.
  • 749 Rushing Avenue (Jay Milligan House), Rushing Avenue Land Trust, for a major rehabilitation, including window restoration and reroofing.
  • 735 Winfree Avenue (Robert Sherrill House), Randal Ferchau, for repairs, reroofing, repainting, and an interior rehabilitation.

Two residential projects received honorable mentions:

  • 119 E. Park Street (Mrs. A.L. Rump House), Ms. Tracey Wallace for repainting and landscaping.
  • 1031 Pennsylvania Avenue (L.I. Cason House), Mr. Matthew Lyons for repainting and rebuilding of window screens.

Historic Lakeland is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “promoting appreciation of Lakeland’s unique architectural heritage, advocating for the preservation of its historic structures and using our city’s past to guide our community’s future.”

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Barry Friedman founded 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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