Collapsed building once housed secret society - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Collapsed building once housed secret society

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Part of the Ivanhoe No. 15 building collapsed Tuesday afternoon when the roof caved in. It happened downtown at the intersection of East Oak and Houston Street.

Officials are trying to decide what can be done, safely, to save what's left of the building.

City officials say the Ivanhoe No. 15 was built in 1913 by the international fraternity The Knights of Pythius. They say the room that's now holding the roof was once their secret chamber.

It was their communal hall, where they held their society meetings, and when you would walk in, actually, the floor was sunk just a little bit and there was a raised area all around the room. That's where their secret things happened

Palestine Main Street Manager Lara Westgate says over the years, this historic piece of Palestine has had many uses.

"After that it was a garment factory and a manufacturing company for furniture. After that it was a food pantry and it's current incarnation has some retail spaces on the bottom floor-- a watch store and an insurance company," says Westgate.

She says the current owner planned to turn the building into loft apartments with a restaurant and retail shops on the lower floors.

"If he could have done that it would have been a great boom for Palestine," Westgate remarked.

The owner says restoring the entire building doesn't seem to be an option, but he'd like to salvage the bottom floors if he can.

For now, officials continue to investigate what caused the collapse. They say structural engineers should have more answers within a couple of days.

The streets around the Ivanhoe 15 building will likely be closed for a few more days

Palestine's October festival, that's set to take place next weekend, will likely move a block or two west on Oak street as a safety precaution.

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Palestine main street manager Lara Westgate says over the years this historic piece of Palestine has had many uses
9:57 after that it was a garment factory and a manufacturing company for furniture.. after that it was a food pantry and it's current incarnation has some retail spaces on the bottom floor.. a watch store and an insurance company
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