One of Cortez’s oldest structures is continuing its legacy as a community gathering place. The Burton Store (also known as the Bratton Store) is in the process of transforming into The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.
The Burton Store was the center around which Cortez grew. It is the oldest commercial building in the village of Cortez. It started as a small shed out on the Bratton Dock, and grew from there. Residents would check their mail there, as well as stock up on simple groceries for meals. It was a place where neighbors shared stories and the community connected daily. The first radio and telephone in Cortez was also at the Burton Store where people would go to gather and hear the daily news. During the time that the store was in operation, there was also a barber shop, machine shop and a storage room for fish that were on ice waiting to be transported to outside markets.
Later, the Albion Inn was built around the Burton Store. The Inn used gas lighting until electricity was brought to the village. There was a fireplace in the dining area and also a large wood burning cooking stove in the kitchen. The first artesian well was installed at the Inn, and during droughts residents were able to come down and fill their buckets. The Inn thrived as a popular destination for winter residents. One notable visitor to the Albion Inn was Al Capone in 1928.