CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — A historic building housing the Crystal Post Office will be auctioned off this week, but the post office will remain in the building for at least two more years.
The Crystal Masons have owned the building since at least the 1930s. The post office is downstairs while the Masons historically met upstairs. However, three years ago the Crystal Masons merged with the Hubbardston Masons and both groups now meet at the Hubbardston lodge.
A Mason mark remains on the building above the post office sign — “Mt. Gilead No. 285, 1871-1939” is written in cement on the front of the facility.
Mason Karl Harter said the Masons aren’t in the landlord business and want to focus all their efforts on local community projects. He’s hoping the building will receive some good bids in the auction so Masons can put that money toward those community projects, as well as maintaining the Hubbardston lodge, which was built in the 1800s.
The building auction will take place Tuesday by John Pavlik of Pavlik Auction and Real Estate in Alma. Call (989) 463-4903 for more information about the auction.
No matter who purchases the building at Tuesday’s auction, the post office will remain in the building for at least two more years as part of the sale stipulation.
According to Patti Braman, who works in the Crystal Post Office, the lease for the post office to remain in the building doesn’t expire until Dec. 31, 2015. Braman said every day customers see the bright yellow auction sign outside the post office and ask her whether it’s going to close.
“We definitely reassure them that we are going to be here for the foreseeable future,” Braman said.
The Crystal Post Office currently serves about 1,050 customers on two routes, plus about 250 people who have post office boxes inside the post office.
“It’s not going to close,” emphasized Harter regarding the post office. “It’s going to be there.”
The Portland Masons also consolidated with the Crystal and Hubbardston Masons last spring. The groups currently have about 120 members, but only about two dozen of them are active.
“We continue to try to serve the Crystal community as well as Hubbardston and Portland for our charitable efforts,” Harter said.
For more information about joining the Masons, call Harter at (989) 875-9192.