Palmetto moves to preserve historic armory
PALMETTO (FOX 13) - The brick building on 6th Street W in Palmetto stands tall in both stature and history.
"It was the hub of many events here in the city of Palmetto," said Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant. "If these walls could talk, it would be amazing, the stories."
It was built during the Great Depression and it was called the Palmetto Armory. It was used by the National Guard during World War II and by the Volunteer Florida Defense Force, which prepared food to send to troops.
Since the 1960s it has been home to VFW Post 2488. Veterans gather downstairs, while upstairs history remains intact -- only a bandstand for dances, an old basketball hoop, and markings from a bygone era on a vintage basketball court.
"It was built in such a way that it could be used by other groups. People would have meetings upstairs. They used the court for physical education classes," said Bob Marble the strategic planning specialist for Palmetto CRA.
The armory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"If you can preserve them and they are preservable, then you should," said Carl Patton, the past commander of the post.
With any building this age, repairs are needed -- some too costly for the VFW post to take on.
"Now the maintenance has become a problem and we are not fully capable of taking care of veterans and that building," continued Patton.
The city plans to partner with the VFW. They will help pay for repairs and apply for grants.
"It has been very important to most of the people I know here at this post," said Patton.
Everyone hopes bringing the past back to life will show future generations from where they came.
"It is just preserving that history and in preserving the building," added Mayor Bryant.