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High school cornerstone set by Masons

Posted: Tuesday, Oct 2nd, 2012

Most Worshipful Brother Karl J. Hinkle, grand master of the Masons in Colorado, ceremonially taps the cornerstone at Monte Vista High School Saturday, indicating that it is straight, level and plumb, ready to become part of the building. Looking on are two Grand Lodge officers

MONTE VISTA — Monte Vista High School took its place in history Saturday morning as the Masonic Lodge performed the time-honored ceremony of cornerstone setting.

Conducted by the Colorado Grand Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (AF&AM) and led by Grand Master Karl J.Hinkle, the ritual has it origins in ancient history.

Because of their heritage as builders of cathedrals and other public structures, the Freemasons have historically performed a special ceremony at the laying of cornerstones for new buildings, upon request.

Masonry is, essentially the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves.

Materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can significantly affect the durability of the overall masonry construction.

The cornerstone was usually the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation.

Over time, a cornerstone has become a ceremonial masonry stone, or replica, set in a prominent location on the outside of a building and holding inside it a time capsule to be opened in 100 years.

Grand Lodge Orator Robert Herd told the small crowd assembled for the Saturday morning ceremony that the art of masonry began in Biblical times and has continued to modern times.

In the Masonic cornerstone ceremony, the stone is checked, using ancient tools, to be certain it’s square, straight and level.

Next, the cornerstone is consecrated with corn, wine and oil — Masonic symbols of prosperity, health and peace. Finally, the stone is symbolically tapped in place with a gavel.

Each tool used in the traditional Masonic cornerstone ceremony has a specific correlation to the values held dear by the Masons and echoed by the community that built the high school: the trowel, symbolizing unity, spreading the cement of friendship and affection that unites the brotherhood of man; the square, representing virtue, demonstrating a strong foundation upon which to support our lives; the level, representing equality and democratic idealism; and the plumb, representing uprightness, as well as the development of the mind, soul and conscience.

The Holy Bible, guarded on Saturday by Charles Elliott, of Monte Vista, who will be 99 in November, is another foundation of Freemasonry.

Inside the local time capsule are the program of the Saturday ceremony and the 2012 Homecoming Game; the Monte Vista Journal and SLV Lifestyles of Sept. 19, 2012; news of the Grand Opening on Aug. 22, 2012; MVHS class and faculty rosters; photos of the demolition of the old building and photos of the new building construction; a coin of the day and information about the Freemasons, plus a list of the local and Grand Lodge officers.

Following the speeches, Worshipful Master Dennis Burch of Monte Vista Lodge No. 73, AF&AM, presented a symbolic trowel to MVHS Principal Wiedeman, asking that it be placed on display in the school.

For the complete article see the 09-26-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-26-2012 paper.

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