CARBONDALE -- A piece of Carbondale's history was torn down Wednesday. The Masonic Temple was one of the city's oldest buildings, but it's been deteriorating for more than a decade.
For about 15 decades, the Carbondale Masonic Temple stood over Salem Avenue, its last decade the saddest of its long history.
The building's been off limits since 2004 when its exterior started to fall apart. Many blame an absentee landlord.
"We actually were on the roof several years ago," recalled Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor. "There was a hole in the roof where you could trace the damage down through the floors and if someone had patched a roof 25 years ago, maybe this day wouldn't be here."
Mayor Taylor says the city had to take over ownership of the Masonic Temple then wait for $400,000 in grants before the building could be torn down.
For 12 years, the city of Carbondale has focused on trying to get this building down, but city officials and residents alike say they haven't given much thought as to what will happen next.
"It's a really good block. Whatever happens here, I hope it enhances the block in some way," said Mayor Taylor.
"Probably another parking lot," said Earl 'Stretch' Daniels.
He was more focused on the building's past than its future as he watched it come down. Daniels was born and raised in an apartment next door.
"This block was beautiful, the Masonic Temple there. I used to sit on the fire escape and watch them play pool. Beautiful inside, beautiful," he recalled.
Daniels said it was the kind of construction that couldn't be replicated today and it would all come down over the course of several hours.
The marker displaying the date it was built--1874 -- will be saved.
"My husband belonged to the Masonic Temple for at least 30 years or longer. He went to all his meetings there, I went to many Christmas events. They had other social events there and it's just kind of sad to see it go down," said Theresa Comunale.
It's those memories that will preserve the Masonic Temple.