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In 1977, the Cedar Key Historical Society formed with 106 charter members and Polly Pillsbury as its first president. These pioneering individuals had a mission to actively promote and safeguard the unique past of the Cedar Key Islands and nearby areas from being lost forever. In 1979, they opened the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum. Over forty years on, and that spirit is still alive! Countless volunteers and members have kept this invaluable legacy alive for new generations to experience, passing along their enthusiasm for a unique history that was a vital part of the history of Florida and the Gulf Coast. The Cedar Key Historical Society reminds us why protecting our heritage is essential.
The idea of Cedar Key Historical Society began with artist Polly Pillsbury. She and her husband Sam moved to Cedar Key from Jacksonville in the early 1970s. Polly opened an art studio and enjoyed painting Cedar Key scenes and historic buildings. She learned of Cedar Key’s unique and rich history dating back to the early 1800s before Florida became a State. As a result, Polly spearheaded an effort to establish the Cedar Key Historical Society with the ultimate goal of establishing a Cedar Key Historical Museum to preserve and display Cedar Key’s history. She obtained the Cedar Key Historical Society charter from the State of Florida in 1977.
Polly and other interested local citizens then began raising money through fundraisers and private donations. These efforts were successful in raising $5,000.00, which was used to purchase the historic Lutterloh Building from Mrs. Gertrude Teas. The purchase agreement also included payments of $100.00 per month to Mrs. Teas as long as she lived. Polly had help from other charter members, which included Mrs. Gertrude Teas, Billie Hindal, Etta Watson, Mary Ann Delaino, Helen Evans, Bill & Janet Betts, Webster & Marie Johnson, Mary Hale Mizell, Henry Rucker, Ruth Wagner, Fran Taylor and others.
Two archeologists, Gordon and Barbara DeAngelo from Maine were spending the winters in Cedar Key and with the help of Ruth Wagner and others collected numerous artifacts, photos etc. Display cases were obtained from stores on 2nd Street, The DeAngelos were in charge of creating most of the wonderful exhibits currently housed in the Lutterloh Building. Dr. Charles Fishburne a professional historian also moved to Cedar Key around 1980 and was responsible for collecting many of the historical documents now in our historical archives. He also published a great book entitled The Cedar Key in the 19th Century available exclusively in the Gift Shop.
Everything was completed and the Museum was opened to public in 1979. It was an immediate success and of course continues to be to this day. The City of Cedar Key owes much to this farsighted group of citizens who put untold hours and vision to create what probably is the best small museum in the State of Florida. ADDITIONAL SPACE was needed for exhibits so Lindon Lindsey’s son Don and his cousin built an addition to the west side of the Lutterloh Building in memory of his deceased wife Marguerite. At this time this room houses exhibits depicting the pictorial history of Cedar Key, the seafood industry and the photo-hanging file. Another building house more exhibits would come nearly 20 yrs later, with the Andrews House/Office of the Standard Manufacturing Company.
The Cedar Key Historical Society Museum is immensely grateful to Linda Parker Hudson for her years of dedication and ongoing support, even in the face of disasters like hurricanes or pandemics. Thanks to Ms.Hudson's passion, drive, and commitment to preserving the unique history of this beloved island community, we are still standing strong despite enormous challenges; we remain resilient! Her contributions will continue reverberating through generations as a testament to what it means to go above and beyond when our society needs us most.
You can reach the Board of Directors by sending an email through the "Contact Us" button below or send letter through US MAIL Address:
The Cedar Key Historical Society
P.O. Box 222, Cedar Key, Florida, 32625.
The Cedar Key Historical Society's members are the lifeblood of everything we pursue - without their invaluable contributions, our events and resources would not exist. We celebrate these passionate volunteers for propelling us forward to enable preservation and sharing of this community’s iconic history!
Recognizing Ruth Wagner (1899-1994)the Museum's first docentDownload PDF
This site copyright @2022 The Cedar Key Historical Society Inc. Website Developed and Maintained By -Anna White Hodges- Executive Director
Website Developer Anna White Hodges