Historical Building Preservation

$230 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 4 months
Help us complete important historic preservation work at The Historic Brazos Union Masonic Lodge in Bryan, Texas!

Learn more about the Brazos Union Masonic Lodge by clicking here .

To begin critical revitalization of this historic gem in Beautiful Downtown Bryan by working with the City of Bryan, the State of Texas, the Texas Historical Preservation Society, local experts in historic building restoration and preservation, generous donors, and, of course, our many members.

We can't do it alone! For too long, this building has sat in a state of disrepair and for too long not enough has been done to secure its future. We aim to change that with your generous help today.

We plan to rehabilitate the facade of the building, including the severely damage fascia and soffet board, the 3rd floor windows, and the badly damage brick mortar, and give the exterior and general facelift to bring it back to its previous glory.

We've heard the calls of local resident - and even tourists - that this building needs some love and care. With your help, we can accomplish that.

Built in 1910, the building has spent its entire history in the hands of the local Masonic Lodge, which has been active in the community since its chartering in 1854. Through their work, many scholarships have been awarded to local students to attend college, homeless children have been provided necessary food and supplies to attend school, countless elementary school children have been provided a dental kit as part of the "Fantastic Teeth" program, and widows and orphans of members have been watched over with unceasing care.

Over the years, this historic building has housed a theater, several medical offices, a barbershop, and been host to many other fraternal organizations. 

Today, 8 fraternal bodies meet in this building and the barbershop is still there - and has been in the family since the early 1950s! 

Today, the Lodge is ready to propel itself into the 21st century with a fresh face and a renewed commitment to continue serving Bryan, and all of Brazos County, but we can't do it without your help.

This project is not being undertaken without careful consideration and proper oversight as to the historical nature and structural integrity of the building. We have been approached by and are working with several contractors and experts to develop approved plans that protect this historic building.

Brazos Union Masonic Lodge is comprised of men with a true vision for where this Lodge should go - and with the skills to make it happen. The membership is committed to completing this worthy project and will not rest until the future of this historic building is ensured. Join the Lodge in this mission to preserve this historic building for future members, the Bryan community, and for all of posterity.

100% of the funds from this GoFundMe will go directly to support the revnovation, preservation, and rehabilition of this historic downtown Bryan gem. Funds will NOT be used to support the operation of the Masonic Lodge or for any other purpose.

Where will the $25k go?

Directly to the funds designated to be spent on the building. We have tentative commitments from the City of Bryan to match dollar-for-dollar, up to a certain limit (depends on when we apply, how much they have in the program, etc). See next answer for more detail.

Can you present a project plan of where EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR will go, RIGHT NOW?

Yes, over the past couple of years, we have developed a solid business plan detailing this project and how each dollar will be spent. We worked with several contractors in the area to get good, solid estimates from each of them. Our plan includes expenditures of roughly $100,000 completing needed repairs, which included around $60,000 to repair the rotted fascia and soffit board, re-point the damaged brick and mortar, rehab/replace/repair the windows on the 3rd floor, replace broken tiles on the front of the building, repair/replace the old lighted sign with new globes for the various bodies that meet in our building, and general clean up and touch ups. The additional $40,000 of the plan is to be used in rehabilitating our first floor "retail space" into a rentable space. Currently, roughly 1/3 of our 1st floor is available for retail, but only part of it (the part occupied by the barber) is in any condition to rent out. We'll be spending that additional $40,000 on moving an interior wall to create more space, putting in an ADA-compliant restroom, electrical, HVAC, flooring, drywall, etc. to bring that space up to a "shell" status for a potential renter - and we have several on the hook right now. That retail space will allow us to generate enough revenue to secure the building for several generations to come as the area, Downtown Bryan, Texas, is seeing a resurgence of business and is quickly become a fun, cultural center of the local community.

What are you going to do when THAT runs out, which it will do quickly?

The $25,000 isn't meant to complete the entire project. We have plans to secure other funds from the City, and seek out grants from the Texas State Historical Commission, along with guarantees of funds from a couple of Brothers.

How many dues paying members do you have?

Not enough. Many of our members have become endowed members, so they are no longer obligated to pay dues. Several of them still contribute to cover their per capita fees to Grand Lodge, but not all of them. We have approximately 85 full dues paying members.

What are you dues?

$90 per year, which is far too low. I've tried in the past to raise them to AT LEAST $120 a year, but it was voted down. I intend to bring it up again soon - and have been lobbying individual members to support it - and expect it to pass. If it does pass, I will further my mission to save our building by moving to permanently allocate a portion of each member's dues to the building fund.

Why hasn't this been done before?

No one took the intiative or had the know-how. The fact that it hasn't been done is no excuse. I'm here now and I'm pushing to get it done - and I have the support of the Lodge and its leadership.

How have you tried to raise funds so far?

We've sent out letters to our members asking for additional contributions (and included a new coin in each of those letters). That turned out to be a hugely expensive undertaking, which yielded virtually no results. Each year, we participate in the Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival which takes place on the street in front of our building. We sell hamburger baskets, but it only raises so much. Its a lot of fun (and a lot of work), but it just doesn't cut the mustard.

Why not just use a different lodge building in the area?

Our members take pride in the history of our building, our location, and our Lodge. While it might not show in terms of the exterior of the building, we really do. The current, active, members have just been handed this old building from generations before us.

If nobody has cared enough since 1910, why will a drop in the bucket do anything now?

That drop in the bucket to which you are referring is just a small part of the overall plan, which I hope I detailed above clearly for you.

Are you going to kick the barber out? Surely he doesn't pay high enough rent to keep it going?

Probably not. We are going to severely reduce his space when we remodel the retail space (per his request), but won't be reducing his rent. He's near retirement, so we're happy to let him stay until that time. We can work around him and have designed the remodel to accommodate him until he's ready to hang it up. The design is such that we'll be able to easily take over his space and add it to the other tenant's space, or re-lease his space to another tenant for market (higher) rent.

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Tonight, KBTX News did a short story on our mission to #SaveOurBuilding. Check it out here:
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I have added a "Frequently Asked Questions" Section to the Story...be sure to check it out!
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$230 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 4 months
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