Built in 1886, Sea Gull Cottage is Palm Beach’s oldest building and Henry Flagler’s first home there. The cottage is adjacent to the Royal Poinciana Chapel, built in 1896 by Flagler for his guests. This week crews are raising the Victorian-style cottage by a foot to improve drainage, only the first major step in a reconstruction, restoration and expansion project. Wood siding will be removed in sections and replace with more weather-resistant Hardi board. Second floor rooms will be eliminated to make space for a 2.000 sq ft addition for religious education classrooms and meeting place. A turret removed some time ago will be replaced. The height of the piers supporting the cottage will be increased and a concrete foundation for the addition will be poured to secure the base. The doors and stained glass windows have been temporarily removed and windows will be incorporated into new impact-resistant windows. Since 2006 the cottage has had permanent landmark status, keeping the cottage on chapel grounds. Preservation groups are accepting more and more the use of newer materials to replace historic construction materials. Completion of all work is expected in about a year.

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