Minnesota Historical Society grant paves way for Masonic Temple facelift

January 26, 2019

The Winona Masonic Temple is getting a facelift thanks to a $316,993 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.

This week, the Winona City Council voted to accept the grant, which will pay for extensive improvements to the building’s exterior masonry, moldings and terra cotta.

The grant will require a $34,465 match that will be paid for out of the city’s 2017 recreational bond.

“It’s a very significant grant for the Masonic Temple,” mayor Mark Peterson said with enthusiasm during Monday’s City Council meeting.

With the approval out of the way, the city will have a little more than a year to complete the restoration before the grant deadline expires on Feb. 1, 2020.

However, before the work can begin, the city will need to work out some of the grant conditions, namely how long the city will be obligated to own the building.

“The grant agreement says we need to own the building for 10 years; the grant acceptance says 20 years,” said According to assistant city manager Chad Ubl.

Ubl said his staff will clarify the city’s obligations before signing the final agreement.

The exterior renovation is set to begin as the city wraps up the latest phase of Masonic Temple Theater restoration.

Recent improvements to the Masonic Temple include the replacement of carpets, flooring repairs, new electrical systems and bathrooms, and the installation of a collapsible seat area on the theater’s lower level.

An effort to restore 13 of the theater’s historic stage drops is also underway. Last month, scenic artist Kimberly Lawler began work on the lengthy restoration process.

The Masonic Temple theater is expected to open to the public later this spring.

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