By Samantha Smith
After more than one hundred years, renovations are underway to help fix the interior of a longtime downtown Kyle fixture.
The Live Oak Masonic Lodge No. 304 building, located on West Center Street, is currently going through interior renovations of the roof, floors and walls.
Lodge member and Past Master Allen Deaver said the lodge is currently “a mess,” as work crews disassemble the water damaged flat roof in order to install a more modern slanted rubber roof that will last ten years.
Going through a renovation process at all is a first for the building, which had remained unchanged since 1911, Deaver said.
The Live Oak Masonic Lodge, which was originally chartered June 12, 1868 in Live Oak, moved to Kyle after finding a home in its current building on Center Street in 1911, according to the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce Website.
Deaver added that the building was in need of an update “for a while.” Deaver said when the building developed water damage, the brothers decided it was time to do more changes than just repairing the roof.
Renovations to the historic Masonic Lodge started around April by Deavers’ fellow Master Mason Julio Trevino, a brother at the Live Oak Lodge and a contractor.
“The drop-ceiling in the Lodge room is going to be removed and we’re going to leave it open to expose the beams,” Deaver said.
In addition to a new roof, Deaver said the lodge is also replacing sheetrock on the walls, installing all new ductwork, installing new lighting and clearing away excess flooring to reveal a classic wood plank floor to help bring the building into the 21st century.
According to Deaver, the renovations are costing $25-$30,000 due to the extensive roofing repairs, with funding coming from both the lodge and the city of Kyle.
Along with making the first ever repairs to the Lodge, Deaver said the fraternal order will conduct another first as they host an open house for the public this fall.
The renovations are scheduled to be complete in October due to the mandatory order of the Grand Master of Texas that all Masonic Lodges host a mandatory Open House on October 23 at 2 p.m. Deaver, who has been a Mason for 16 years, said an open house hasn’t been done in the history of the Masonic Order.
“We’re doing it to spread the word (about the Masonic Order),” Deaver said.
Deaver said many people misinterpret the Masonic Order and call it a secret society.
He countered the claims, saying the Masons are not a secret society, but, like any other special interest groups, has special ceremonies and traditions entrusted only to members of the order itself instead of the general public.
Deaver said many founders of counties and towns were Masons, such as Jack C. Hays and George Washington.
“We’re just a fraternity of brothers of multiple faiths that want to welcome more involvement,” Deaver said.