Freemasons from the Grand Lodge of Texas conducted the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Grimes County Justice and Business Center, Saturday, Aug. 7. Elected officials, county employees, residents of Grimes County and Masonic lodge members from surrounding areas attended the event.
County Judge Joe Fauth opened the ceremony saying, “This is a project that’s been talked about a very long time. We finally were able to get it kicked off, and we’re much closer to the finish than the starting line, and I applaud everybody’s effort and energy in getting us here today.”
Conducting the ceremony was Deputy Grand Master and Right Worshipful Brad Billings who shared the history of laying foundation stones, cornerstones and capstones by stone masons, as well as the history of the practice in America and Texas.
According to Billings, Masonic cornerstone ceremonies in America were conducted by Benjamin Franklin at Independence Hall, George Washington at the U.S. Capitol in 1793, and at the Statue of Liberty in 1884.
In Texas, Masons laid the first cornerstone Feb. 3, 1838, at first Protestant church west of the Sabine River in San Augustine and at the Texas Capitol in 1894.
Billings said, “When we level this cornerstone today, we will be performing a ceremony that is close to three hundred years old. It is the one ceremony which connects the free masonry of today to the stone masons of the past and the Middle Ages.”
The cornerstone for the Grimes County Justice and Business Center was donated by the Navasota Masonic Lodge #299. Grand Orator and District Deputy Grand Master at Large Aaron Tyksinski explained that in a tradition dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, some cornerstones were hollow and served as time capsules with “coins, books, newspapers and other interesting items” reflecting that time period.
Following the ceremony, a buffet hosted by Orphan’s Friend Lodge #17 in Anderson wrapped up dedication activities.