DRIPPING SPRINGS — With the help of a $21,795 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), Rambo Masonic Lodge. No. 426 will soon install new energy-efficient windows in its 141-year-old building within the historic district in downtown Dripping Springs.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $6,147 in matching funds from the lodge, will pay for the installation of the 10 energy-efficient windows on the building’s ground floor. Completed in 1882, the two-story limestone building was declared a Texas historic landmark in 1968.
Wayland Clark, a member of the lodge’s building committee and grant writer, said the building’s 30 windows — many of which are more than 50 years old — are in various states of disrepair. Replacing them with the energy-efficient versions while adhering to the Texas Historical Commission guidelines for historic landmarks has been challenging.
“We have members of this lodge who attended school in this building and want to preserve it. We love it and our community loves it, but it is very expensive to do,” Clark said. “The grant will help us out and reinforces our determination to go forward. It’s kind of a kick-starter for us. We’re hopeful we can get even more of the windows replaced.”
The building first served as the home of Dripping Springs Academy, a school founded by a Baptist preacher in 1881. The building was acquired by the public school district in 1889 and in 1920, a second floor was added. Fraternal organization Rambo Masonic Lodge No. 426 purchased the building from Dripping Springs ISD in 1952.
Today, area students frequently tour the building, which also provides meeting space for various civic groups. The Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce had a visitors center in the building at one time, but the outdated windows made it difficult to maintain a comfortable climate-controlled environment, Clark said.
He added that the new windows will reduce energy costs for the lodge as well as provide a more welcoming environment for area organization to meet on the building’s ground floor.
“We want to do everything we can so that not only are we proud of the project when it’s completed, but we want LCRA and our community to be proud of what’s been done, too,” Clark said. “We’re going to do our best to make sure that happens. This grant is certainly a blessing.”
The community grant is one of 34 grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which aids volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. PEC is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. For more information, visit www.lcra.org/cdpp.