Brazos Union Masons raising money to renovate their century-old lodge

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- Since 1910, the Brazos Union Masonic Lodge has been the meeting place for more than 400 Masons in the area.

The group decided it was time to give their Downtown Bryan Lodge a face lift.

"This is our home. We've been here since 1910 and everyone else is starting to do the restoration work to their buildings. We're starting to be the only ones who hadn't," said Scott Bratsen, the Secretary of the Brazos Union Lodge.

Bratsen said it would cost $100,000 to renovate the entire building,

"We need to get the ball rolling, and to do that we have to start somewhere. We are hoping to raise $25,000," said Bratsen.

A few fixes include redoing the brick on the building, renovating the downstairs room to rent out to another business, and minor fixes to the windows.

"The third floor windows need to be fixed as well. We also want to get the cornerstone changed out because it's received vandalism over the years and I'm just worried it will get worse," said Bratsen.

Randy Haynes, with the City of Bryan and a member of the Historic Landmark Commission, said the Lodge is one of the few buildings on Main Street that are still in great shape.

"Now that Downtown Bryan has been reborn, there is an opportunity for them and their organization. I also think they feel a responsibility to the community that this is one of the architectural gems of downtown," said Haynes.

Renovation projects in that area, like the Queen Theatre, have got the attention of the Masons.

"This is our image to the public. It's important for future generations and think it's part of Downtown Bryan's history as well, as long with some of these other buildings that are near us," said Bratsen.

City officials believe renovating the Lodge will enhance downtown.

"Although the Queen and the Carnegie Library have been restored, if anyone who lived back then would walk into those buildings, they wouldn't notice a difference. Hopefully when the Brazos Union guys are finished, the same will be true for the Lodge building," said Haynes.

More information on the history of the Lodge or to donate is available in the Related Links section at the top of this article.