The Bowling Green Masonic Lodge building will be demolished beginning Monday. The building was built in 1883
BOWLING GREEN – A historical building in Bowling Green is soon to be no more.
Demolition on the Masonic Lodge, which was built in 1883 by a contractor in Terre Haute, will begin Monday.
The building became the Masonic Lodge (officially called Clay Lodge No. 85) after the original building burnt down.
According to 48-year member Forest Keiser, the original building had a grocery and drug store inside. Most believe someone robbed the grocery store and set the building on fire.
“Cochran’s Grocery was on the ground floor and the Lodge met on the upper floor,” Keiser said. “All of the secretary’s minutes from the original building were saved because the secretary had actually taken them home that night of the fire to work on them.”
The new building was finished later that year and has been occupied ever since.
According to Keiser, in the 1970s, Cochran’s grocery store sold the lower floor of the building to the Lodge that they owned the entire building.
Now, after 129 years, the building will be demolished.
“It has continually deteriorated,” Keiser said of the building. “With everything together, it is not economically feasible to restore it, and even if you did, you’d still have an old building with a lot of problems.”
Members of the lodge are trying to save as much as they can to use in a new building they hope to build. A 38-star American flag was found in the building, an heirloom from the 1860s after the Civil War.
“There was a tin ceiling on the lower floor,” Keiser said. “We were able to take it off and sell it to a man from Evansville. The money went toward the demolition. We’re trying to save everything we can to furnish the new lodge.”
The members want to use the same location for a new building, if they can raise enough money.
Keiser said they would like to have a kitchen and dining area on the ground floor of the new building.
“Right now, we just have enough money to demolish,” Keiser said.
The Masonic Lodge members have hired A-1 Rip & Tear Demolition, Bowling Green, to do the demolition.
Owner Tony Pendleton plans to use the lumber from the building, according to Keiser.
The Masonic Lodge is a fraternal lodge, which focuses on building character rather than social services.
“We don’t do social projects and we’re not religious,” Keiser said. “But we do promote moral character.”
Currently, the Masonic Lodge, Bowling Green, which was chartered in 1850, has 43 members.