MILTON-FREEWATER - The Masons are coming! The Masons are coming!

Milton Lodge No. 96, Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons, has invited the Masonic Grand Lodge of Oregon to perform a traditional cornerstone leveling ceremony at the new Milton-Freewater Public Library. The ceremony will take place at noon, Tuesday, April 1 at the new library.

Library director Bob Jones suggested the new building should have a cornerstone, and the Library Foundation of Milton-Freewater incorporated that idea into the design of the facility. Having freemasons "level" the stone with due ceremonies is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. George Washington and members of Alexandria Lodge #22 of Virginia participated in such a ceremony for the U.S. Capitol Building 230 years ago.

In times past the cornerstone of a building was the first stone laid, and the structure literally was built upon it. Today the cornerstone is more important as a symbol than as a structural element, so it can just as easily be the final stone laid in the building. Although this cornerstone is being laid at the end of the project rather than at the beginning, it will be placed in the traditional spot, at the northeast corner of the building. Only a state's Grand Lodge can perform this ceremony, but the local lodge must invite them to do it. Milton Lodge was chartered in 1890 and has served the Milton-Freewater community for 113 years.

The public is invited to this outdoor ceremony. Immediately following the laying of the cornerstone the new library will open to the public for the first time at 1 p.m. The dedication of the library will take place two weeks late, on April 15.

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