Tuscan Lodge joins ‘Historic Places’ list

By Gus Bode

During a ceremony on March 9 in Springfield, the Tuscan Lodge building will become the second building in Carbondale to be added to the Illinois Ten Most Endangered Historic Places List.

The Carbondale Preservation Commission nominated the building, which is located at the corner of Jackson and Washington Streets, for the list in November. In January, the commission was notified that the building would be added to the list. At the Carbondale City Council meeting Tuesday night, the council will vote to send a letter to the Landmark Preservation Council of Illinois in support of the nomination.

The Tuscan Lodge building was built in 1893, originally for the Oddfellows, an order of the Masons. In 1903, it became the Tuscan Lodge and served as a meeting room for the Tuscans, a primarily black organization. Upstairs, the building used to be a dance hall that featured several famous musicians such as Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. The downstairs has served many functions over the years, most recently as a restaurant called Cousins. The building has been vacant since 1995.

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At the ceremony, the building will officially be added to the list joining the Buckminster Fuller Dome located at 407 S. Forrest St., which was added in 2004.

Mayor Brad Cole said the city has been looking for ways to fix up the building, but has not been able to find the money to do so. Cole said he hopes having the building on the list will result in funding from an outside source to help preserve the building.

“There may be some money out there,” Cole said. “It’s one of the older, more historic buildings.”

City Councilman Steve Haynes said the council supports the addition of the building to the list. Haynes said the building has played a big role in black history in the city and it deserves this recognition.

“It’s a piece of history not only for the city of Carbondale, but it’s a piece of African American history that has been around and should be preserved and given all the significance that it can be,” Haynes said. “I think there is a lot of support for the history of this city.”

In addition to voting for the letter to be sent by the preservation committee, the council will also recognize two city employees for their service to the city. Donna Haynes, mother of Councilman Haynes, and city council candidate Don Barrett will both be recognized.

Donna Haynes retired in November of 2004 after 29 years of service. Haynes served as director and child care coordinator for the Eurma C. Hayes childcare center. Steve Haynes said the daycare center has been a big part of their family.

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“She was one of the original individuals who worked for the childcare facility when it was with Church Women United,” Steve Haynes said. “She’s taking her retirement here and will be honored.”

Barrett retired in February after 26 year as a Carbondale Police officer. Barrett is one of six candidates eligible for three spots in the city council general election on April 6.

Reporter William Ford can be reached at

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