What we as Masons leave behind…

This is a short post, on a story I came across today from the Norwich Bulletin, out of Connecticut.
The article isn’t a long one, and is really a local piece, but it serves as a reminder of the “treasures” our forbearers left behind for us at the corners of our temples we use today.

Opened and unearthed..

Demolition workers at the Masonic Temple on Washington Street have uncovered a time capsule that contains 27 articles of Masonic history.

According to a list of items found with it, the box it was buried July 28, 1928, the day the cornerstone of the building was laid. The square, copper box was found under the cornerstone as the building was being prepared for demolition next month.

What this story brought to mind was the bigger picture of a lodge that was forgotten and abandoned. It happens to old buildings, likely without air conditioning and modern amenities, but these are our buildings, our heritage.

Of the treasures, found in the box were:

Items included coins from 1928, lists of members of the Masonic lodges that met there, by-law books for the lodges, a history of the lodges, a copy of a $500 bond that was sold to build the temple, newspapers from the day the stone was laid, Masonic souvenir coins, Masonic medals and a photo of the ground breaking.

The memories were important to an era now long forgotten.

These memories should still be important to us.

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~ by Greg on September 20, 2006.

5 Responses to “What we as Masons leave behind…”

  1. Sadly, most of us have not only forgotten and abandoned early 20th century Masonic trinkets and memorabilia, but equally, Masonic literature and tradition from that time period.

    I’d guess that maybe one in a thousand American Freemasons today have ever even read one lecture from Wilmshurst, for example, or read an Old Tiler’s Tale, both of which were products of the time period when that time capsule was buried.

    Widow’s Son

  2. very sad ….I am afraid there will be more to come ….I love the old buildings and the history they hold and wonder how great it must have been when the building was full of honorable men ….

  3. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a passage in “Galapagos” in which he described that the people living a million years in the future decided to simply toss everything out because there was too much old historical stuff to keep track of.

    We find “historical” things interesting, but is it a shame that so little of it remains? Do we really need every other set of baseball cards from 1953 or stacks of documents from the 1800s? Sure, some things are worth keeping, but who gets to decide? And how?

    Don’t get me wrong – my lodge is an old, historical building, and that’s one of the reasons that I chose to be a member there. But sometimes I look at the stacks of Grand Lodge Proceedings and other old books and papers and think that it sure would be nice to have room for some new stuff. After all, eventually the “new” stuff will be “historical” to someone else.

    The Tao of Masonry

  4. So much is lost as this fraternity loses it’s older members. The newer generation never has a chance to really receive the gifts of the original lodge fathers.

    The stories and rich culture fade with time. Until there is literally nothing much to pass on but the main structure and rituals of the lodge itself.

  5. I’m reminded of this Zen parable:

    In modern times a great deal of nonsense is talked about masters and disciples, and about the inheritance of a master’s teaching by favorite pupils, entitling them to pass the truth on to their adherents. Of course Zen should be imparted in this way, from heart to heart, and in the past it was really accomplished. Silence and humility reigned rather than profession and assertion. The one who received such a teaching kept the matter hidden even after twenty years. Not until another discovered through his own need that a real master was at hand was it learned hat the teaching had been imparted, and even then the occasion arose quite naturally and the teaching made its way in its own right. Under no circumstances did the teacher even claim “I am the successor of So-and-so.” Such a claim would prove quite the contrary.

    The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. “I am getting old,” he said, “and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I also have added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship.”

    “If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it,” Shoju replied. “I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is.”

    “I know that,” said Mu-nan. “Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here.”

    The two happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions.

    Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: “What are you doing!”

    Shoju shouted back: “What are you saying!”

    (from the website

    The Tao of Masonry

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