Elks Lodge Building, Marshall, Texas

411 E Austin St
Marshall, TX 75670

Historic Restoration Award

This award acknowledges a historic resource that has been properly restored to a specific time period. Projects must fully demonstrate adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration. A special emphasis is placed on completed projects where owners, architects and contractors practice exceptional care in respecting the original fabric and setting of a historic structure.

The historic Elks Lodge in Marshall, Texas is unusual and one of the most important historic buildings in a downtown that features many important historic buildings. The Lodge features a number of beautiful historic features on the interior, all of which are substantially intact. The primary façade, however, had been badly altered over the years before being abandoned by the Elks Lodge many years ago. As a result, most of the community had been unaware of how extraordinary this building is.

The current owner has sought primarily to restore this structure to its original grandeur and to have it be a benefit to the newly burgeoning downtown. The current plans for the building have successfully created a large and attractive retail space at the street level, which is leased, while presenting an appearance that is much more appropriate to the original design of the building and the character of Downtown. Long-term plans seek to preserve the remaining interior historic spaces and details while providing space for modern office or loft residential uses. In particular, the elaborate and unusual façade was painstakingly restored to a condition that is as close to documented historic conditions as was reasonably possible.

This building is worthy of recognition for the example it sets for other downtown property owners of the value of the historic features of the building and the possibility that those features can be reasonably retained, reutilized and, if necessary, recreated. It is also worthy for the dedication shown to proper preservation by the building owner and the design team. It is also an example of remarkable workmanship as demonstrated by the carpenters who executed the re-creation of the missing Clamshell feature.

Primary Challenge
The primary challenge became the replication of the missing “Clamshell” feature at the Third Floor. While many of its base parts were found scattered throughout the building, the unusual curved wood and stained glass top portion was completely missing. Historic photos and remaining historic conditions were studied closely to determine the most minute details. A 3-D graphics program was used to work out the details and provide guidance to the carpenters. However, it was found that many of the components contained compound curves and were nearly impossible to replicate on the computer. While the architect developed sections for the various components, the job of actually sizing, curving and fitting of the pieces fell entirely to the carpenters (two brothers) to work out in the field.