December 1, 2013 – St. Petersburg

Original building was a Rutland’s Department Store as pictured above

Pre-investigation report: 

1.Do you experience any of the following?

  Visual: Unexplained movement caught from the peripheral (corner of the eyes)
  Sounds: Whispering, muttering, talking
  Sounds: footsteps
  Sounds: furniture moving, doors slamming, windows opening/closing, glass shattering


2.If animals are in the vicinity, have they been observed: 


3. Have you experienced any of the following?

 Expression of SLIder phenomena: SLIder stands for “Street Light Interference”. This is paranormal activity relating to the living. Theoretically, SLIders
  are emitting a low grade of PK (psychokinetic) energy which interacts and interferes with electronic devices. SLIder phenomena includes street lights
  going off as a person walks by them, electronic devices constantly breaking when a person is near them or attempts to use them, watches dying, batteries
  dying at an abnormal rate, etc.

  Premonitions (future events), clairvoyance (sensing or knowing things that are going on in the present at an entirely different location), or retrocognition
  (seeing events that took place in the past)

4. Is there any other phenomena that you have experienced that we did not ask you about? If so, please list and describe:


5. Do you experience any anomalous health conditions that might impact these experiences? If so, how might they be impacted? (Medication, physical sensations, etc.?)


6. To your knowledge, did any of the following events happen on the property? 

7. When was the property/location built? Was the location recently remodeled/refurbished? If so, when? Do you have any information on the history of the property?

  was Rutland Department store

8. A time line of paranormal activity is immensely helpful. Please note as much information as possible, including dates, times, events, who was present, and what happened.

  noises heard in the evening, and early in the morning


The Art Lofts

10 5th Street North (listed as 501 Central Avenue in Pinellas County Property Records)

Saint Petersburg, FL 33701


Quality: Average  

Square Footage: 20556.00

Foundation: Spread/Mono Footing

Floor System: Wood W/Sub Floor

Exterior Wall: Concrete Blk/Stucco

Roof Frame: Flat

Roof Cover: Built Up Wood

Stories: 3

Floor Finish: Carpet

Interior Finish: Dry Wall

Fixtures: 20

Year Built: 1916

Cooling: Heat & Cooling Pkg

09/09/2002 FLORIDA CRAFTSMEN purchased property from RAHDERT STEELE BRYAN & BOLE P and RAHDERT & ANDERSON [1]

Picture titled “Central Avenue Saint Petersburg FloridaPast Looking Westward” [2]

According to google maps and street view, it is clear the view is to the East, not the West. Below.

The Ornate Building on the “far” left, background, with what appears to be a bell tower, is the Rutland, or Originally known as the Snell Arcade, which was built in 1928. “A fine example of Mediterranean Revival architecture and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The property is significant for its association with C. Perry Snell, who was instrumental in the development of St. Petersburg in the early part of the twentieth century and Richard Kiehnel, a noteworthy architect who is reputed to have inaugurated the Mediterranean Revival style in Florida. [2]

“Rutland’s” (See above photograph of store at location of Florida Craftsman)


Hubert Rutland Sr. paid cash for quality clothing in New York and Chicago and brought it home to St. Petersburg to sell at prices far below those at competing department stores. He died in 1988 at age 94. [3]

He obviously loved what he did and brought it back home – I bet he is still roaming around “his store.”

Obituary, Lakeland Ledger, Hubert Rutland Sr. [4]


1916: Building constructed

1916-18: “Bud Rutland was a manager and vice president of the Hubert Rutland department store. The Central Avenue landmark bore the family name as far back at World War I.” [7]  

1914-1918: World War I [8]

1988*: “Mr. Rutland’s grandfather, Hubert Rutland Sr., built a financial empire of stores, banks and ranchland. Much of it was sold off in the mid 1980s.” [3] [7] *1988 based on date of death

1988-2002: Unknown disposition but at SOME point came under ownership of George Rahdert’s groups

2002: Florida Craftsman 

While an interesting, colorful, and prestigious law firm, it would not appear that much by way of ties beyond ownership of property existed during the ownership of the location by Rahdert Steele Bryan Bole PA (law firm is located across 5th Street from Florida Craftsman at 535 Central Avenue) – Of note, it is the law firm for St. Petersburg Times [6] and senior partner George K. Rahdert was involved in Schiavo case [5] – he is a first amendment lawyer and real estate developer.


No unsolved homicides in area. [14]

Ax-Wielding Man Fatally Shot in Downtown St. Petersburg: Police [15] 

Couldn’t locate any online records of fatal auto accidents in the area.

Downtown St. Pete: 8th most dangerous neighborhood in the country? [16] Re 33701 – possible crime in immediate vicinity but none located online.

The Rutland’s Men’s Department Store at 535 Central was the site of robbery/rape/revenge in 2008. Turns out the owners of that bldg – the lawyer group who owned the 501 Central site, were sued for lack of security. [19] [20]


‘Earlier this spring, Mr. Rutland’s grandfather became the centerpiece for an ongoing exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. “His empire was quite diverse and far reaching,” Bud Rutland said in February, recalling his grandfather’s entrepreneurial skills. Hubert Rutland Sr. died in 1988.’ [7] So, telephone call to the museum: Spoke with Sally who passed me on to James: Does the museum still have this ongoing exhibit? A brief reference to it may still be on display in the main gallery, however, the articles that comprised the exhibit would be in archives. The archives are available for review Wednesdays and Fridays, Noon to 5:00 p.m. Any sensitives on team down that way interested in checking things out?

“Doc and his Cut Rate Drug Store were making a profit. This drove his competition crazy.” It may be useful during EVP session if one is trying to contact Mr. Rutland to make an inquiry about his fellow business owner James Earl “Doc” Webb (b. 08/31/1896 or 99, d. 1982), or perhaps even offer to “beat any published price.” Apparently theirs was a somewhat colorful and competitive relationship bringing good deals to St. Petersburg residents. [12] [13]

Good friends of Mr Rutland – who likely visited his store – Reverend John L. & Mrs. Horton (First Methodist Church) [17]

No legends or haunting lore found online.


St. Petersburg Times, January 1944 [9]

The Illustrated Milliner, Volume 23, March 1922 [10]

St. Petersburg Times, October 13, 1938 [11] 

St. Petersburg Times, July 28, 1970 Advertisement with Building Sketch & Location






















Investigation Notes

Rebecca: I felt a happy female energy when we got there. 
Areas to return to: Helea and West area; front (Vanessa); Joe Walles
Rebecca: This upstairs was once offices, alterations, and storage. The walls were not here but were constructed for ArtLofts. I’m not sure how open it was but it was pretty open. Walls would be 2002 and beyond. The area to the right, the western area, people have been in there, artists who were sensitives, and many reported a lot of odd energy. They reported the sensation of a person who was deranged, perhaps a prior renter. Roderick, who owned it, was a purveyor of old buildings. 
The reason we called, around 7 a.m., there was the sound of rocking chair, snoring near Bob and Vanessa’s area. There have been a series of artists who were here who have died, but none of these seem to be that person. In Rick’s studio, Melissa Christiano passed (after she moved out). John Brown was in Joe’s office (former Reader’s Digest art director). Nell Reeves was in Lee West’s studio before she passed away. Jack Lebowitz was in Javier’s studio.  
No cross referencing between the information and what is sensed. I don’t think it was ever a residence. It was built as a department store.  
Research notes: Is there a floor plan that we can check into?  
Mary Klein – first managers here. They could tell us what walls were already here. 
Christian Science group was here for a short time around 2000; when they left the Palladium. They were housed here for a time. They were here for a year or two; it was an unusual fit. The inside wall (in the area where we got most activity) was built during the 1998 – 2000 time period.
Post Investigation Research 

Information on the interior of the orogianl store; attempting to determine who might have used the building in the past.

​Facebook inquiry/discussion with a person who was in the store when it was a store:

GH: Yes!! their was a mezzanine , it was a department store and their were offices in the building up stairs. Ruth’s was down the street from Rutland’s and catered to women. You could always find what you wanted at Ruth’s

GH: No!! their were offices for others then store personal , rentals, Att. Forest Hoffman had his office their, my sister-in-law worked for him

GH: It was the latter part of the 50′ My sister-in-law graduated from SPHS in 55 and went to work for Forest Hoffman the same year.




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