CONCORD -- A new roof for the historic Masonic Temple in downtown Concord costing nearly $50,000 is being completed before the winter rains begin.

"We want to make sure it's waterproof," said Concord Historical Society co-project director Lloyd Crenna.

Five tiers of old roofing had to be removed, wood rot repaired and new copper flashing installed before the new roof could be put on to ensure protection of the interior of the 86-year-old building.

The original 1928 Spanish tiles covering about a half of the roof's cap and pan-style front section were removed and stored before the 225-ton building was moved in May from its Galindo Street location across Clayton Road to an undeveloped parcel of land next to the Galindo House.

The move, considered a significant engineering project using 15-ton jacks and 40-ton hydraulic dollies, cost about $120,000. A new foundation to set it on cost another $85,000.

"All costs have been born entirely by the society," said Crenna.

The bid for the re-roofing was awarded EXCEL Roofing Services in Martinez.

"We worked on the Masonic Temple in Livermore," said company owner Dennis Negherbon.

He said the Concord project was pretty straightforward except for some logistics. Roofers had to wear harnesses because of the building height and slope of the roof.

"It is a tall building and access is difficult. It's not like an office building you can drive up to," Negherbon said. "It's really a challenge having to be dangling."


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But the bigger challenges to fully restoring the two-story building won't be seen by the public. They are engineering new drainage and bringing all the electrical and plumbing to code. The society is also building an addition for food preparation and storage as well as installing access to the second floor for people with disabilities.

When completed, the temple will become the Concord History Museum and Resource Center and will be operated in conjunction with the Galindo House, an 1856 Victorian farmhouse -- home to one Concord's founding families -- restored and opened as a museum in 2012.

Crenna estimates more than 100 people tour the Galindo House each month.

"We think there will be a lot more use of the Masonic Temple than of the Galindo Home because of its more expansive activities," said Crenna.

The Masonic Temple is expected to house the society's complete history collection, including documents and photographs accessible by computer and made available to Concord residents, schools, scholars and the media.

Along with museum activities, the restored stage and large hall once used as the town's dance hall from the 1930s to the 1960s -- and where Concord's favorite son, jazz artist Dave Brubeck first performed publicly -- will be available for society fundraising activities and public use such as wedding receptions and other family gatherings.

Dance and music studio owners are already inquiring about using the space to rehearse and perform, said Crenna.

But completing the restoration work takes money and the all-volunteer Concord Historical Society's coffers are nearly empty, so it is asking for the public's help.

"We are running out of funds to go forward," said Crenna. "We are a federal and state nonprofit 501(c) (3). We are all volunteers. We don't pay anyone."

He said the Betty Martin Barnes Trust is matching any donation of $50 or more up to $200,000 made to the Masonic Temple project between now and April 30, 2014. Barnes was a life member of the society and the daughter of local contractor Floyd Martin.

Any donation, no matter what size, is welcome.

"A lot of people can't afford $50," said Crenna. "If they want to give less than that it would be great."

He said there are many individual projects within the total restoration, and people are encouraged to give whatever they can to any of those.

"There are eight original chandeliers that need refurbishing at $1,000 each," said Crenna.

He said donating to the $25,000 stage-refurbishing project could get a person's name included on the commemorative plaque.

The Masonic Temple project is expected to be completed in two years, depending on engineering difficulties and the society's fundraising efforts.

"If we get the full $200,000 and match it with $200,000, that's going to go a long way," said Crenna. "We can probably open it at that point."

Crenna said the historical society is planning an information fundraising event in early spring and hopes to be able to show off the interior at that time.

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