Cemented in time

In 1957, on the heels of a successful $1 million fundraising campaign, members of Minnesota Masonry from throughout the state joined with University of Minnesota officials in laying the cornerstone for the U’s Masonic Memorial Hospital.

Although the original hospital is no longer intact, the events and people surrounding the momentous cornerstone ceremony are cemented in time.

In 2018, construction workers unearthed a time capsule that had been placed in the cavity of the hospital’s cornerstone decades ago. The capsule’s artifacts, now on display at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center in Bloomington, include:

  •  Newspaper and magazine clippings covering the fundraising for and groundbreaking of Masonic Memorial Hospital
  •  Photos of notable Masons, Stars, and U officials at various fundraisers, meetings, and commemorations
  •  Masonic and University publications of the time
  •  Meeting minutes and the original Articles of Incorporation for the Masonic Cancer Relief Committee of Minnesota, Inc.
  •  The Bible, which is used in Masonic ritual and lessons

Although placing time capsules in significant structures is not an exclusive practice to Freemasonry, it is often done in tandem with the ceremony of laying the cornerstone.

Cornerstone ceremonies, which draw from the stone mason’s practice of setting the first stone in constructing a building, are symbolic in Freemasonry. This first stone, or cornerstone, is considered significant in that all other stones are set in reference to it. Freemasons today use the laying of the cornerstone in many lessons of morality and truth.