Endangered: IOOF/Masonic Lodge Hall, Garnavillo

Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered 2018:  IOOF/Masonic Lodge Hall, Garnavillo (Clayton County)

Endangered: IOOF/Masonic Lodge Hall, Garnavillo

This wood frame, Greek Revival structure was built in 1860 by I.O.O.F Lodge # 29, the first fraternal organization in Clayton County. The second floor of the building was used as a meeting/ceremonial room for the I.O.O.F, Masons and other lodges and the first floor was used as a community gathering area and library. In 1936, the I.O.O.F. sold the building to the Masons. The building was deeded to the Garnavillo Historical Society in 1977 when the local Masonic Lodge disbanded. The second floor still contains many of the original furnishings, artifacts, records and books from the organizations that previously used the building. The first floor has been used for storage, retail space, a pre-school and most recently for historical displays, events and archives. The building is believed to be one of very few Greek Revival wood structures remaining in Clayton County. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The exterior has been neglected in recent years and is of concern at present. Lack of gutters and downspouts have taken a toll on the foundation and siding leaving many rotted boards. Recent wind storms have resulted in the pilasters and siding pulling loose in the northeast corner. Wood windows and doors are also in need of repair.

The Garnavillo Historical Society would like to preserve this structure but lack of funds, preservation knowledge and experience, and manpower to identify potential resources have caused more recent discussions to be directed toward maintenance solutions that would threaten the historical character and the National Register status of the structure.

More information about this building’s character and historic context can be found in the IOOF Masonic Lodge Hall National Register Nomination Form.

Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us.  In the past 20 years, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 archaeological sites, churches, landscapes and a variety of other buildings.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2018 Most Endangered Properties includes: