By Kevin Fox
In America, for nearly 300 years Masons have laid cornerstones and celebrated the construction of new public buildings that are in turn dedicated to the principles of Masonic value. For Masons, these dedication stone setting ceremonies not only promote freedoms, but they also remind the public that all enduring things – buildings and people alike – must be built on a firm foundation.
At the heart of this event is the Masons’ commitment to freedom, as symbolized by the cornerstones laid at the Federal District (now the District of Columbia), houses of worship, institutes of learning and public education, and countless other public buildings.
Masons have laid numerous cornerstones of historical significance, including the White House, and the Statue of Liberty. In one of the more famous ceremonies, President and Mason George Washington laid the cornerstone for the U.S. Capitol in 1793 – which was later said to be the cornerstone of democracy for the world.
For local Masons in Clark County, the last Stone Setting ceremonies took place eleven years ago at the dedication of the new Clark County High School in 1996. When the section of the former high school was torn down to construct a new middle school the Masonic cornerstone of the 1917 building was removed and in August of 2001 was opened. Recently that same cornerstone was reset near the flagpole of the Clark County R-1 Middle School by St. Francisville Lodge #588 A.F. A.M by Brother Keith Cannon, Brother Danny Colwell, and Brother Justin Waples, who serves
Lodge as Worshipful Master.
A new time capsule was placed back in the cornerstone and items contained within the capsule are: Mass. Quarter, 1917 newspapers (the first urging support of the passage of a bond issue to build a new school and the second paper listing all registered voters in the county), Wooden Nickel – KSB Sesq., 2007 Media (In which was a section showing the 2007 seniors of CCR-1), Masonic Penny, Waples for Sheriff wooden nickel, Knight Templer coin, $2 bill, By-Laws (St. Francisville No. 588 & Hiram Lodge No. 362 of Kahoka), a message from the Master, pictures of the lodge in Wayland, time capsule opening photos, "What is a Mason" poem, a Gideon’s New Testament, and an Exchange Bank Pen & Calendar.
At a recent communication at St. Francisville Lodge it was voted to open the time capsule in 50 years in 2057, which will be Kahoka’s bi-centennial. The St. Francisville Lodge is also celebrating its 100th birthday this fall, watch for more details on a history of the Lodge and lodges in Clark County.