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108 Years Ago: Y.M.C.A. Cornerstone Laid By Masons

For those who nearly always long for the “glory days” of Freemasonry, let’s take a brief trip down memory lane. It was 108 years ago, on April 5, 1909, that the cornerstone for the Y.M.C.A. was laid in Charlottesville, VA.  This feat was accomplished in a grand manner by 130 Masons from Widow’s Sons’ Lodge No. 60.

The event was preceded by a parade through town, in which the Masons led a marching band, eventually arriving at the construction site. The Masonic ritual involving the laying of a cornerstone then began, where ““The cornerstone of marble block was elevated a few feet, by ropes worked by a pulley. With much ceremony, a hermetically-sealed copper box was placed in a cavity of the stone carefully prepared for the purpose, and the marble block was lowered to its place where it is to remain forever as the ‘cornerstone’ of the building”.

Oh, it must have been quite a sight! This, just past the turn of this last century my friends, was Freemasonry. Unabashed, very public and yet still mysterious! Imagine, if you will, the great parade, 130 Masons in dress and regalia, marching bands, “real” working tools being used to actually set a cornerstone… A very neat story, and one worth remembering.



However, we always need to remember this- Freemasonry might someday, once more, regain the public status she enjoyed when large parades and civic functions were normal for the Craft to participate in…. this may very well happen. But, if it does (or IF it doesn’t), we must still work towards being the strong and capable Institution that could handle the task.

Friends, this was not a function of the Grand Lodge, it was a regular Lodge, a Blue Lodge,  Widow’s Sons’ Lodge No. 60. They were, and still are, a vibrant and fulfilled group. This internal strength of heart is what allows external strength and display in numbers. In short, these Mason’s of over 100 years ago came together to make this history because through the Virtues of Masonry- they never were apart!

May we all strive, in the present day, to be so strong: Personally & Fraternally.

Find the entire story following at The Daily Progress:

“Lodge of Masons dedicates cornerstone of new Charlottesville YMCA in 1909

125 Years of Progress takes you inside The Daily Progress’ archives every day in celebration of our 125 years serving Charlottesville and the rest of Central Virginia.

 

It must have been quite a sight. One hundred thirty members of Widow’s Sons’ Lodge of Masons, No. 60, preceded by the Albemarle Band, marched down Main Street and up Second Street “and there took in hand the formal laying of the cornerstone and dedication of the new structure according to the mystic rites and ceremonies of this ancient order, an order that dates its origin back through the long centuries, almost to the dawn of creation, when Solomon built his temple under the supervision and direction of the Masons.”

 

It certainly wasn’t Solomon’s Temple, but it was the laying of the cornerstone for the new YMCA building as reported by The Daily Progress on this day in 1909.”



““The cornerstone of marble block was elevated a few feet, by ropes worked by a pulley. With much ceremony, a hermetically-sealed copper box was placed in a cavity of the stone carefully prepared for the purpose, and the marble block was lowered to its place where it is to remain forever as the ‘cornerstone’ of the building.”

The article went on to detail the contents of the time capsule, which included a copy of the April 5, 1909 Daily Progress, a history of the YMCA, postcard views of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, three Chinese coins, one dated 1650, a 10-cent piece from 1807, a Confederate note, a dime from the safe in the Baltimore fire of 1904, and the Masonic tools used to place the cornerstone.”

 

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