ATLANTA — When Edward Bowen looks at the yellow brick building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, he is filled with pride.
“It means a lot to me,” Bowen said.
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The Prince Hall Masonic Lodge was built back in the 1930′s. The Freemasons have a rich history in Atlanta, and so do some of their former tenants.
“This is where Dr. King’s office was,” Bowen said.
The Masons rented the first floor to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference where Dr. King and Andrew Young went to work. The entire building will now be restored from top to bottom. The Masons, the city, the National Park Service and other organizations are teaming up on the $10 million project.
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When the restoration is completed, the lodge’s meeting room will once again look like it did in the 1940s. Dr. King’s office will flash back to 1965, complete with a replica of his desk.
“We do have an idea of what that desk looked like,” Bowen said.
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Bowen has been a member of the lodge for 35 years. He’s happy to see that its connection to the Freemasons, Dr. King and the entire civil rights movement will endure.
“Having the spirit he had, to have the courage he had, that’s significant. And the fact that he is part of this building and part of this Auburn Avenue history, you can’t help but feel good,” Bowen said.
Restoration work will begin by the end of the year and will take around 18 months.
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