A month can't go by without a story appearing about the loss of another significant Masonic hall or temple. But every once in a while, I get positive messages like this one. WB Matthew Farmer, Worshipful Master of Abert Lodge 89 in Starkville, Mississippi writes, "To all those whose historic Lodges are being sold or mismanaged, the potential is there, expand your minds and look at all opportunities..."
Our lodge has partnered with a local historic developer to completely renovate our lodge to it's historic glory. It will be a $1.2 million renovation to keep and improve our historical status in this city. Our lodge hosted the Rex Theater downstairs in the '20s. The Rex Theater was the first building in Starkville to receive air-conditioning.
This project will not cost the lodge a dime. (besides increased insurance and tax of course), but it otherwise ensures that the entire building will be around and in "lodge" hands for a while. We have signed a 55-year lease with the developer ensuring income for the lodge, more than accounting for inflation.
From a February 25th story on the WTVA website:
Mark Castleberry, a property developer in the Golden Triangle and owner of Castle Properties, partnered with local business, Glo, and the Masonic Lodge to restore the Rex Theater. The building is located on West Main Street.
He plans to transform the former theater into an office space for Glo. Glo sells liquid-activated, light-up cubes that are designed to be placed into drinks for a colorful sip.
The redevelopment of Rex Theater will provide a larger space for the business to operate.
The Starkville Masonic Lodge has occupied the property for more than 100 years. A fire destroyed the first building in 1929. When it was rebuilt in 1931, the theater was constructed on the first floor.
Castleberry plans to work with the National Parks Service and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to maintain the property’s historic integrity.