Advocacy Alert: Keep an Eye on the Masonic Home in Des Moines!
In 2015, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation featured the Masonic Home of Washington in Des Moines in our Most Endangered Places Program. The property sold in 2019 and the seller filed an application for a demolition permit with the City of Des Moines as part of the sale. The current owner, Zenith Properties LLC, resubmitted the demolition permit application in September of 2020. Although no public land use notices have been issued, the city and the owner have remained in negotiation over the future of the property.
A full year has passed since the demolition permit application was resubmitted. It is time to again reach out to local elected officials and voice your support for rehabilitation of the Masonic Home. For your convenience, we have provided the following contacts and template:
I am writing you today to support rehabilitation of the Masonic Home. Completed in 1926 as a retirement community for members of Washington’s Masonic Society, the Masonic Home is a symbol of buildings constructed to last and is a regional landmark representing the history and development of Des Moines.
I urge the Des Moines City Council to do everything in its power to support and facilitate the rehabilitation of the Masonic Home. The site is large enough to accommodate new development while also retaining the historic structure. Existing incentives make rehabilitation a viable alternative to demolition and would avoid sending massive amounts of construction debris to the landfill. Furthermore, rehabilitation of existing historic buildings is far more labor-intensive when compared to new construction, which tends to be more materials-intensive. As a result, more dollars are spent on local labor income, which remains in the local economy, as opposed to the purchase of materials which are often manufactured outside of the region and often overseas.
We have an opportunity to revitalize one of Washington’s great historic landmarks – let’s not miss the chance! Thank you for any support you can provide.