For the past few years, a dedicated group of volunteers—full disclosure: I am one of them—has been working on raising money to build an addition for our town’s library. Our goal is to raise 1 million dollars, a lot of money for a little town comprising mainly middle-class people. The plan included tearing down an old Masonic hall adjacent to the library, with the new addition being built on the footprint of the old building. (The library expansion committee looked into refurbishing the Masonic building, but it simply wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of all the books. However, the woodwork has been salvaged to use in the new addition.)
The goal of the expansion campaign was to take down the Masonic building when over 70 percent of the money had been raised for the addition. Well, glory be, we finally reached that mark, and yesterday the Masonic building was torn down.
I rode Blue Beauty—my first bike ride of the season—to the library and took photos of the demolition. I must admit I had mixed feelings as I watched the building come down. On the one hand, I was excited that we are finally beginning the project that so many of us have worked so hard on for so many years. On the other hand, as the building was being torn apart, the wood cracked and groaned, and I really felt as though I was watching the death of something old that had once been beautiful. So sad!
I stood next to a man who had gone to meetings in the Masonic building, and he seemed philosophical about the building’s demise. “The Masons don’t have the membership they used to have,” he told me. “And that building was in tough shape.”
Yes, it was. And now the Masonic building is gone. From its “ashes” will rise a new building, one that will expand the library, which is bursting at the seams. When the expansion is built, the library will be able to breathe freely and more easily fill its vital role in our community.