From the New Hampshire Masonic Bulletin, Volume 5, Number 7, July 15, 1925
Not many months ago the Bulletin called attention to an extensive building program that was being carried out by the fraternity in several localities throughout the state.
At the there were under consideration new buildings at Manchester, Keene, Derry, and Concord, the need for which had long been emphasized not only though these columns but in each section where the projects were mentioned.
Since these several buildings were first conceived, two of theme have been erected and are now being occupied by the fraternity and concordant orders, viz., at Keene and Derry, and the cornerstone of the new Temple at Concord was laid Saturday, May 9.
But it is of the cornerstone exercises, incident to the building of the new Masonic Temple at Manchester that this article is applicable, – a ceremony which means much to the fraternity of the Queen City, but more generally to the members of the Craft throughout the state.
There has been for many years a thought expressed by those high in Masonic councils that with each semi-annual communication at Manchester more representatives might be accommodated at this meeting, which is virtually a Lodge of Instruction, if a suitable place were available. With over a hundred Lodges sending delegates, and others entitled to sit in the proceedings, together with an audience of many more interested Masons, it is not difficult to understand why there should be a lack of room or seating space in an enclosure designed for far less than actually gather.
There have been occasions when it has been necessary to meet in one of the theaters to accommodate those who wished to listen to the inspiring words of some distinguished speaker; there is always the necessity of providing for an overflow hall when the hour arrived for the banquet.
These are things that were in mind when the Manchester fraternity decided that it were time to provide quarters ample to give that hospitality such as Masonry extends to its own kind.
The ceremony, then, of the laying of the cornerstone of the new Temple, was the preliminary to what may be expected when the edifice is ready for occupancy, the expectation being that the semi-annual communication at Manchester next December will find everything in readiness for a royal welcome to the members of the Craft in this jurisdiction.
Perhaps the best account of the cornerstone may be found in the words of a Lafayette Lodge member, written for the occasion:
“In the presence of the officers of the Grand Lodge, members of the different local Masonic fraternities and several hundred friends, the cornerstone of the pretentious Masonic Temple on North Elm Street was laid Wednesday afternoon, June 24, with the same impressive ceremony and procedure as marked similar events by the Ancient Craft.
Manchester Masons turned out in a body to participate in a colorful program which began with a parade to the rear of the partly constructed Temple and closed with a masterful address by R W Allan M. Wilson, of this city, Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire.
In the cavity at the northeastern corner of the structure, over which the beautifully carved cornerstone was laid, Grand Master Bela Kingman of Newmarket and his associates placed a number of important documents, including Masonic papers and publications, municipal manuals and a copy of the Manchester Union.
Hundreds saw the parade of the Masons from their Lodge rooms at the corner of Merrimack and Elm Streets to the Straw lot in the North End. Hundreds more were on hand, lining the east side of Albert Street, to await the coming of the different bodies.
Lafayette and Washington Lodges met in joint session shortly after 2 o’clock, following which the members formed on Merrimack Street, Sir Knight Don W. Blair giving the signal which started the procession northward.
He was followed by Rainey’s Cadet band and Knights Templar in full regalia. Eminent John C. Hayes led Trinity Commandery.
In the rear of the Knights came the members of Washington and Lafayette Lodges and then followed Derryfield Chapter, Order of DeMolay. Officers of the local Lodges preceded automobiles carrying the Grand Lodge officials.
An Inspiring Sight
As they swung into Albert Street from Harrison Street, the Knights Templar formed a company front facing the Temple. With swords at salute, they stood while the other members marched to positions facing the cornerstone. When the Grand Lodge officers had taken their stand, Trinity Commandery fell in behind the other fraternities.
The building itself was attractively decorated in red, white, and blue for the occasion. On the first floor, a special platform was erected for members of Ruther Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, and the officers who took an active part in the program including Mrs. Florence M. Lord, Worthy Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter, O.E.S., of New Hampshire.
Halbert N. Bond, chairman of the building committee, made the opening remarks, when he called about the Grand Master Kingman to lay the cornerstone of the new Temple.
Grand Chaplain William Porter Niles of Nashua offered prayer, following which the Orpheus Quartet sang.
Officers of the Grand Lodge then gathered about the cavity over which the cornerstone hung at the end of a long cable. At the request of the Grand Master, the Grand Recorder, Harry M. Cheney, of Concord, read from a paper a list of the articles to be placed in the copper box.
Among the important papers and plates laid in the receptacle, were the following:
Copper plates bearing names of officers of Lafayette Lodge, Washington Lodge, Mount Horeb Royal Arch Chapter, Adoniram Council, Trinity Commandery, K.T., Derryfield Chapter, Order of DeMolay, Ruth Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M., of New Hampshire. Building committee of the Masonic Temple.
Manual of the city government giving names of all city officers.
Roster and by-laws of all Manchester Masonic bodes.
Picture of the Masonic Home and present Masonic Hall.
Copper coin bearing the name of George F. Sargent.
One hundred and fifty one-cent coins being the first voluntary contribution toward the new Temple donated in 1920.
Copy of the Manchester Union of June 24, and of the Masonic Bulletin.
Masonic manual of New Hampshire.
Constitution of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire
Copy of the charter of Lafayette Lodge, dated June 9, 1824.
Copy of the program of the 75th and also the 100th anniversary of Lafayette Lodge.
Copy of the annual report of the Grand Lodge for 1924.
Program of the Fast Day reunion of the New Hampshire Consistory, 1924.
Copy of the Holy Bible.
A Square and Compasses.
Copper plate bearing the names of L.H. Shattuck Company and its officers.
Name of the architect, Charles R. Whitcher
Names of the Orpheus Quartet.
Names of all of the members of the local Lodges.
Names of all of the national officers.
Grand Officers Assist
With the completion of the report of the Grand Recorder, the ceremony of laying the cornerstone was begun. Assistant Grand Master Kingman in the task were the following officers:
R ∴ W ∴ J. Melvin Dresser, Berlin, Deputy Grand Master
R ∴ W ∴ George E. Danforth, Nashua, Grand Senior Warden
R ∴ W ∴ Allan M. Wilson, Manchester, Grand Junior Warden
R ∴ W ∴ Frederick J. Shepard, Derry, Grand Treasurer
R ∴ W ∴ Harry M. Cheney, Concord, Grand Recorder
R ∴ W ∴ Orville E. Cain, Keene, Grand Senior Deacon
R ∴ W ∴ Albion E. Hayes, Exeter, Grand Junior Deacon
Edward H. Fogg, Manchester, Grand Steward
Rev. William Porter Niles, Nashua, Grand Chaplain
Olin H. Chase, Concord, Grand Marshal
Martin A Hadley, Concord, Grand Tyler
During the ritual which preceded and followed the actual laying o the stone, music was furnished by the band. As the grand officers left the temporary stage the quartet sang again. Chaplain Niles offered benediction and the ceremony was over.
Chairman Halbert N. Bond then introduced the speaker of the day R W Allan W. Wilson, who spoke briefly but interestingly on Masonic traditions, the duty of the members of the fraternity and the ceremony of the Ancient Craft. It was an inspiring address, a portion of which was directed at the Masons themselves.
With the close of the exercises, the members marched to the Lodge rooms and disbanded.”