ZANESVILLE, Ohio — The beloved Zanesville Masonic Temple was destroyed in a fire last Thursday. Building Manager Bob Grayson says its loss still hasn't sunk in.
"I've been here three times today, trying to bring closure in my emotions for what's going on and I can't,” Grayson said as he tried to take in what the building looks like now. "It's like losing a family member."
According to Grayson, the Zanesville Masonic Temple was a marker in the community that housed historic artifacts and brought an art community together. Grayson had nearly 250 pieces of his artwork inside.
“It is one of the most beautiful buildings that downtown Zanesville has ever had,” Grayson said.
What stood for nearly 120 years was destroyed in moments. Thursday, a fire ripped through the building. On Tuesday, smoke still rose from its belly.
10TV spoke with Mayor of Zanesville Don Mason.
"Our number one concern is health and safety. Your first instinct is how can we rebuild from here,” he said.
The community hopes to salvage as much of the building as possible. Mason said the landowners are trying to figure out the next steps for the building.
The Mayor hopes to save some parts of the original structure. He said electricity is cut off in the area, but optimism still flows.
"We're really hoping that some of this can be saved so we can build upon. The last thing we want is another city park in the downtown,” Mason said.
Mason said roughly 60 businesses that were inside the building have been displaced and nearly 500 art pieces were destroyed.
The building meant so much to so many. That's why Grayson wants to make sure its legacy and history live on.
"We're going to go from here and spread out and create a bigger art community,” Grayson said.