To the editor: We mourn with Fairbanks over the loss of our neighbor, the historic Fairbanks Masonic Temple. Having had her majestically guarding over the east side of our little church building (the Christian Science Church) for almost 60 years, she will be sorely missed.
We feel a kinship with the historic landmark. Our church’s Fairbanks history begins in the early 1900s with services beginning in 1906, the same year the Masonic Temple was built on First Avenue. Our current building was moved to the adjacent lot in 1959. As a church community, we have worked alongside her, held church services next to her — and even Sunday School inside her, when we were remodeling, gone for Sunday School walks around her, watched parades from her steps, picked weeds from her base and cleaned around her perimeter as we have cared for our own edifice. Fairbanks is our home, our foundation, and all of it is a part of ours and everyone’s story.
When the temple roof collapsed, a large segment of the west wall overhung our Sunday School until the amazing, skilled excavator operators from Exclusive Paving gracefully did their job. The crews from the city of Fairbanks with engineer Bob Pristash, Fairbanks Fire Department and land owner Harold Groetsema, as well as Exclusive Paving, were literally a godsend of care, knowledge and professionalism.
They responded with prompt action to save our building from possible harm. It was obvious to all present during the unfortunate demolition of the Masonic Temple that the utmost care and respect was given to safe-guard our church building from damage and to save certain historic elements of the temple that were gently set aside for the Historical Society. For that, we are humbled and extremely grateful. Everyone involved handled their work graciously, and Big Daddy’s BBQ was generous in feeding the workers. Thank you also to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner for timely and accurate information and updates.