From the Annals of the Benevolent – In 1889, Liberal Hall was destroyed by fire. The Waco location was the home of the Religious and Benevolent Association founded by James Shaw and promoted freethinking. The association began to publish a monthly magazine called the Independent Pulpit in 1883. The publication served as a forum for many of the members’ freethinking views. It was edited by Shaw and had a world-wide circulation. The introduction of such an association was bitterly opposed by churchmen across Texas. Although, the RBA planned to rebuild it never did and the suspicious fire effectively put an end to the group.