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Century-old Masonic Lodge in Beatrice faces demolition

January 13, 2019

BEATRICE — A nearly 100-year-old building is being demolished to make way for green space.

The Masonic Lodge at Sixth and Grant streets is being demolished by Tiemann Construction.

The building and lot are owned by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The Rev. Robert Barnhill said that contrary to speculation, the lot will not be used for additional parking.

“It will be landscaping just to beautify the area,” he said. “It’s a prominent corner with the post office and courthouse, which has beautiful landscaping. It will be for curb appeal.”

Construction workers speculated it will take about a week to clean the area once the structure is demolished.

The building has been unused since the local Masonic Lodge built a new location at Seventh and Ella streets. The new building is smaller, and lodge officials said at the time of construction it would better fit the group’s needs.

The 4,000-square-foot building being demolished was used by the Masons for 85 years.

Barnhill said the planned transition was years in the making and took fundraising efforts by the church.

“It wasn’t donated, the land was purchased,” he said. “It took planning to get funding, and after five years to have the funding again for demolition… .”

The building was a Christian church when built in the 1920s before the Masons took possession of it.

The demolition is the latest project of St. Joseph’s to enhance the block on which it’s located.

New playground equipment was installed in 2016 on the site of a former convent that was torn down in September 2015.

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