On Sunday afternoon, March 22nd, 2020, a fire broke out in an apartment located above the El Taco Riendo Restaurant, located just four doors down the block from the Arcana Masonic Center in Northeast Minneapolis where Braden Lodge now meets. Winds were coming out of the South at the time — meaning the Lodge building, directly North of the fire along Central Ave, was located squarely in the path of the ap-proaching fire and smoke. The four-alarm fire caused severe damage to the restaurant and an adjacent business, Anelace Coffee, but both businesses were unoccupied, as they had been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All of the apartments on the second floor above the two businesses were totally destroyed, but the residents were safely evacuated by the Minneapolis Fire Dept, which did a remarkable job of knocking down the flames be-fore the fire could advance to neighboring buildings.
Brothers of Arcana and Braden Lodges were notified and given time to retrieve their charters and other irreplaceable records and relics for safe-keeping. While the fire did not reach the Lodge building, the ventilation system sucked in the smoke-laden air, causing smoke damage to the walls and Celotex ceiling panels of the Lodge room, Lounge, and Dining Hall. Arcana’s building insurance is currently completing repairs, including re-painting of walls and replacement of the ceiling tiles.
Those Brothers who answered the emergency call to help rescue items from the Braden archives, which included our minute books, aprons and jewels, and an heirloom carpet that figures prominently in the staircase lecture, were: Br Michael Bearfoot, WB Erick Crail, Br Jason Edwards, WB Tim Grube, Br Christopher Larson, WM David Potter, and Br Mark Steiger — and one “Friend of Braden”, Mr Dustin Korbel, who had petitioned to join Braden just before the pandemic shut down Lodge activities in March. [One of the first actions undertaken when Braden resumed Lodge meetings on July 16th was to vote to approve Mr Korbel’s petition for the degrees!]
Smoke billows from apartments above two Central Ave businesses, El Taco Riendo, a Mexican restaurant, and Anelace Coffee Shop, on Mar 22, 2020. The sandstone building behind the tree at the right is the Arcana Lodge Masonic Center, rental home of Braden Lodge since Jan 2015. - photo courtesy KSTP-TV