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HISTORIC SPJST LODGE NO. 1 TO BE RENOVATED, THANKS TO $24,000 GRANT FROM LCRA, BLUEBONNET CO-OP

0514
 2020
FAYETTEVILLE, Texas – A $24,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative will help restore a historic fraternal lodge and dance hall that has welcomed residents of Fayette County for more than a century.

The grant, paired with matching funds of $46,000, will pay for restorations to the wooden flooring and shutters at SPJST Lodge No. 1, which was built in 1910. SPJST comes from the Czech phrase Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas, which in English means the Slavonic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas. SPJST was founded in 1897, when members in a nationwide fraternal organization decided to create a Texas-only fraternal benefit society.

SPJST Lodge No. 1 was established as the first of 25 charter lodges in the state, and the 4,000-square-foot building in Fayetteville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a Texas historic landmark. In addition to lodge meetings, the building is frequently the site of community gatherings such as weddings, reunions, graduation parties, quinceaneras and antique swap meets.  

“We had wanted to carry out this restoration for several years,” said Ronald Pflughaupt, treasurer of SPJST Lodge No. 1. “With the help of LCRA and Bluebonnet, it’s going to happen.”

The lodge, which also will be painted, is part of a three-building complex that once included a beer bar and a kitchen.

Pflughaupt’s sister Sharon Fritsch serves as the president of SPJST Lodge No. 1, and their maternal great-grandfather, J.R. Kubena, directed the organization’s state office from its founding in 1897 until his death in 1938. 

The siblings are eager to see the lodge receive some restorative TLC.

“We’re just trying to preserve it for the community,” Pflughaupt said. “I guess it’s a little more important to us because our great-grandfather helped start it, but it’s been part of our life forever. Since it’s Lodge No. 1, it needs to be protected and preserved.”

The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
 

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