by Scott Schaefer, The Waterland Blog, August 5, 2022

Community supporters rally at Des Moines City Hall to preserve historic Masonic Home

Landmark on the Sound, formerly known as the Masonic Retirement Home, will be demolished in 2022. The historic building first built in 1926 once served as a retirement home for Masons, then most recently as an event center. It was purchased by Zenith Properties, LLC, which is planning to demolish it, but has not yet revealed its plans. The SEPA review deadline has been extended to Aug. 25. Activities at the event included giving out original Masonic Home commemorative crowns and a “Fun Fact” game.

“It’s our Stonehenge and I don’t think we should not tear it down, you know, without serious, serious thought about why we do,” says film director Justin Edmiston. We need to save it. It’s got historic significance. There’s nothing like it in the entire state, says former Des Moines Councilmember Susan White. Co-organizer Lloyd Lytle Jr. shows off an “idea board” with suggestions for re-purpose the building.

A rally was held just before Thursday night’s Des Moines City Council meeting. City Manager Michael Matthias clarified the issue for attendees. Local Artist Dan Wend shared how creating a a mixed-media painting of the historic building inspired him. “It’s such a beautiful landmark, and it forces you to really appreciate what went into it”.