Winchester, Va. - Last year's break-in at The Mason Lodge left 12 historic murals damaged and in terrible condition. The murals were already suffering because of their exposure to the elements over the course of almost one and a half centuries.
"They’ve been covered in dirt and soot, from a cold stove that used to heat the building. They were painted in 1868,” said Lokie Voight, a previous master of The Lodge, and a current brother.
But out of the bad, came something good. The break-in was the catalyst that inspired the brothers to tend to the murals.
"All they did was take little sponges, about 3x5, and hand scrubbed the entire thing with dry sponges, because they're watercolor and they will run,” Voight said.
The project cost $130,000 dollars, and took a total of six months to complete.
The beautiful frescos hold a lot of symbolism for the masons, and are constantly referenced when initiating new members. But the artist of the frescos is still a bit of a mystery.
"We know his name is a-n-g-o, Ango. And our records say he's from the Peabody Institute, but we sent information to them not too long ago, and they have no record of him," Voight said.
And because the Mason’s are known for their secrets, it seems only fitting that the artist is also one too.
The murals are available to the public. The Mason Lodge asks that anyone who wishes to see them, schedule an appointment with one of their brothers for access.