History of Mason Benson Center

In a Mason Lake Meanderings column of October 2003 you read the story of W.D. Mading and his impact on the area during a period beginning about 1948 and extending into the 1960’s. As Mr. Mading acquired lake front land in those years he had it subdivided into lots intended for recreational use, and offered for sale at prices we would consider a steal by today’s standards.

Following his death in 1965 Mr. Mading’s four daughters donated an acre of land for the purpose of building a community hall in his memory. It was a women’s auxiliary to the local volunteer fire department that took on promoting the new recreational hall. Already successful in raising funds to equip the fire fighters they turned there attention to creating a building that would enhance social life in the Mason Benson lakes neighborhood.

On December 5, 1969 a meeting was held to organize and incorporate the group now known as the Mason Benson Center or MBC. A trip through MBC Scrapbook #1, compiled by Fern Evans tells the story of back breaking work and selfless devotion by many volunteers who gave their time, money and elbow grease to make the vision a reality.

In picture and story there are the names and faces of so many who are no longer with us, but who cut down trees, ran a bulldozer and hammered nails to get a building built. Working right beside the men, the wives and mom’s were there to share the load from clearing the land to stapling insulation into the walls.

With only an idea and less than $2000.00 the new MBC group met in mid January of 1970 and OK’d plans for a 40 x 60 ft. building. It would be erected on a concrete slab floor, have 15ft cathedral ceilings and at one end would hold a large kitchen, cloak room and restrooms.

Raising the first wall

The skills of lake property owners went a long way to expedite the project. Regular work parties took place every weekend and volunteers turned out by the dozens. Jerry Brooks and Dick Sharer did the bulldozing, leveling and excavating. Others offered free wiring, painting and carpentry and lumber was purchased at broker’s cost.

The helping hands were many and their names no doubt are remembered by those who came to Mason Lake in that time. Lloyd Fors, Rudy Zingler, Harry Evans, Sven Gunnarson, Bill Lewis, Buddy Nelson, Jack Richmond, Ethel Fors, Delores Zingler, Gennette Stevenson, Pat Lewis, Fern Evans, Fred Stevenson, Geraldine Brooks, Maxine Gunnarson, Don Cox, Bill Lewis, Willard Lloyd, and many others whose names didn’t get into the scrapbook.

From Shirley Willeiksen in Mason Lake Meanderings 2004