DUNEDIN — Attendees at ribbon-cutting event were given a sneak preview Oct. 13 of a 3D exhibit to showcase the 9,995-square-foot Kellogg mansion demolished in February.
Community leaders, city officials and other guests experienced the immersion exhibit that night at the Dunedin Library. It opens to the public Wednesday, Nov. 2.
"So you all are the first to look at it," said Library Director Phyllis Gorshe.
Library staff will assist viewers with ocular devices, embracing what was called cutting-edge technology to showcase the three-story mansion, which was built in 1925 at 129 Buena Vista Drive S.
Dunedin Historical Preservation Advisory Committee member Cherisse Ponraj was lauded for her instrumental role in the exhibit.
Ponraj said the concept to have a virtual reality exhibit was initiated before those involved in it knew that the mansion would be demolished.
"And so as that came into view this project became more and more important and kind of led us to where we are today," Ponraj said.
The project couldn't have happened without a lot of creative passion and teamwork, she said.
"I also want to thank the community as a whole because this wouldn't have happened without the donation and without the interests of the people in the community who care about the home," Ponraj said.
The exhibit was funded by grants from Florida Humanities community grants and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The overall cost of the project originally had been pegged at $100,000.
The project started with the Dunedin Historical Preservation Committee's decision to make it happen, said Vinnie Luisi, director of the Dunedin History Museum
Instrumental in the project was the Wenk family, who bought the mansion.
“If they didn't give us permission to do the things we were allowed to do, all of this would not have happened," Luisi said.
A major partner was the University of South Florida's Library's Digital Heritage and Humanities Center.
The three-story Kellogg mansion was built in 1925 in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style by home builder Edward Frischkorn, who was the original owner of the home.
In 1934, Frischkorn sold the mansion to W.K. Kellogg, the founder of the Kellogg Co., which produced Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and other food. The sale was said to be the largest in the county that year, a city memo says.
Kellogg used the property as a winter home for his family.
Though noting that not every historical structure can be saved, Pornraj called the exhibit powerful.
"So this type of technology showcased in this town of Dunedin is something we should be really proud of," Ponraj said. "It's really special."