How many here have been part of or present at a cornerstone laying?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    I haven't, but would love to see one! Why aren't they done more often? Could there be a disconnect between those who are building a structure and the Lodge? Maybe the Lodge could be more involved in this activity...
  2. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

    I've wanted to attend one as well, but they're never remotely near where I live.
  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    Many owners, builders, & architects aren't aware that we do cornerstone levelings of public & religious buildings. It's up to us to contact the city, county, church, or school authorities & explain what we do & why we do it- the significance & symbolism thereof, and ask to be allowed to have the ceremony. Although I'm sure it has happened, I've personally never heard of a Lodge's request to be allowed to level a cornerstone being turned down.
  4. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

    For some reason I was under the impression that they had to request the cornerstone leveling ceremony, not the other way around. Maybe that's why we never have any up here in the panhandle, lol.
  5. Bro_Vick

    Bro_Vick Moderator Premium Member

    When I was an adolescent my Grandfather who was a Mason took me to the cornerstone leveling of the Denver International Airport. He wore his apron and I remember the ceremony clearly. I asked my Grandfather why he wore an apron, and he told me they were Masons, and explained to me the fraternity. I said that if they were so great, they should not wear aprons, but something more majestic, and he looked at me.

    Two years later he received his 50 year certificate, and died two years later after that. I have his 50 year certificate and it will go in my man cave once I move in (now that we got rid of the fleas we can move).

    The lodge that performed the ceremony, requested to lay the stone and the city agreed. Little did the city know that by allowing this they would get phone calls and mail claiming that DIA was a space hub for aliens that lead directly to NORAD. The aliens were/are reptilian, and control all the world powers, blah, blah, blah.

    So long story, long story, I have been at one stone leveling ceremony.

    -Bro Vick
  6. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

    Cornerstone lying seemed to be a given tradition when I first was made a mason; I had the pleasure of attending one at our capitol (Austin). However since certain religious organizations seemed to gain foothold, I witnessed the recantation of some these requests. After this phenomenon, we began to observe the over exuberance of secularism within public institutions and these request became nonexistent.

    Now we could ask ourselves how could this happen, but to our chagrin we already know the answer. So the real question should be what are we going to do about this condition, or rather do we really want to do anything about this phenomenon? Do we care?
  7. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

    I organized one last year for our Town's Public Safety Center. Grand Master Brumit (DGM then) presided. We had a real good turn out from both Masons and non-Masons.

    You have to seek these opportunities out on your own. However, once the City/Town is aware, they might start contacting you. Our Town was very supportive, even though they hadn't ever participated in one before. They even reached out to us for other opportunities after the first one was complete.

    You need to get in front of them early on in the process, so they can budget, and so the architect can plan. It's not uncommon for them to pick up the additional cost of the stone.

    The ceremony is a good way to bring both the Lodge membership and general population together, and promotes civic pride.
  8. KSigMason

    KSigMason Traveling Templar Site Benefactor

    I've been to a few. One memorable one was in Arizona where we laid the cornerstone for an outdoor garden for outdoor degrees in Rio Rico.
  9. Timothy Fleischer

    Timothy Fleischer Registered User

    Salado Lodge #296 has had a few cornerstone leveling ceremonies, some of which I covered for the newspaper I own before becoming a Mason. Two of those ceremonies were actually re-leveling of cornerstones on two historic structures: the first in the late 1980s for the ruins of Salado College, which was founded by a Mason who was the first Worshipful Master of a Bell County Lodge (Belton #166). The ruins were saved by the community effort and secured and the Grand Lodge re-leveled the cornerstone.
    The second was when the "old red schoolhouse" on Main Street was saved and renovated to become a Civic Center for the community. The 1924 cornerstone was re-leveled by the Grand Lodge in the mid-1990s. The original cornerstone has the name of a Past Master of Salado Lodge as a member of the Salado school board (which was a new school district).
    Those were both before I became a Mason.

    Since then, our Lodge missed an opportunity to lay a cornerstone on a new school in the early 2000s. We waited too long in the process to be able to do it correctly. Lesson learned on this: START EARLY!!!!! As soon as you know that a City Council or School Board has approved the construction of a building begin making contacts with the authorities involved to get approval of the cornerstone leveling ceremony.

    We were able to Lay a Cornerstone at the new Salado High School in 2010, just before it was occupied. The Grand Lodge had Treasurer Archie Scott come and act on behalf of the GL.

    Something that is important, especially for a small lodge is this: The Grand Lodge must open a representation of the GRand Lodge BEFORE calling off to attend the cornerstone leveling. Every officer in the Grand Lodge representation must be a Past Master of some Texas Lodge. Plan for this ahead of time so that you can be sure that the seats are filled.

    In small towns, work with the local paper to help publicize the event and invite the public to attend as well. For many in the public, this is their first -- and maybe only -- exposure to Masonry. If they see a beautifully-done Cornerstone leveling, it will leave a favorable impression on them, especially if there are dozens of Masons in attendance!

    There is a great pamphlet published by the GLoT about Cornerstone Leveling. It is something to hand to the administrator of the public building at the beginning of discussions that is explanatory of the history of Masonry and why we level cornerstones, mentioning George Washington and other historical Masons and their roles in leveling cornerstones, etc. etc.

    Also, here is a link to what I think is most of the copy from that pamphlet.... In my opinion, Grand Lodge would do well to make that pamphlet -- and many many other educational pamphlets and booklets -- available in electronic form....

    here is the link

    Grand Lodge Cornerstone Ceremony | The Grand Lodge of Texas A.F. & A.M.
  10. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    We laid a cornerstone at the new elementary school sometime last year. Like it was mentioned, not many people are aware it's done anymore and it was a huge hassle because the then superintendent didn't want us to have a stone on his building.

    Fun times though, I enjoyed the ceremony.
  11. chrisu0017

    chrisu0017 Registered User

    We have done 5 cornerstones in the past few years. We have two future cornerstones planned - one confirmed, although no date has been set yet. The second is still in the works.
  12. osiris

    osiris Registered User

    I'm newly raised from Canada never seen a cornerstone ceremony not sure if we do that in Canada to my knowledge
  13. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

  14. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

    It appears that the ceremony is done in Canada
  15. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

    Attended several, but have never been a part.

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