From the Vault: 1892 Grand Lodge Cornerstone Ceremony

Every so often we just get lucky and an amazing Grand Lodge photograph appears.  It gives you hope that there are more out there waiting to be found.

It was the 30th of May, 1892, Grand Master William P. Innes assembled a team of Masons to dedicate the cornerstone of the All Souls Universalist Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  Among them were two Past Grand Masters and two brothers who would later go on to sit in the Grand East.

Not much is known about the ceremony itself.  The Grand Lodge officers were assisted by members of Grand River Lodge #34, Valley City Lodge #86, and Doric Lodge #342 under the escort of DeMolai Commandery No. 5.

After the ceremonies, Rev. Charles D. Fluhrer (pastor of the church and the first Master of York Lodge #410) addressed the crowd regarding the history of the church and the bright future ahead of it.

According to Grand Lodge Proceedings, the following brothers assisted:

Bro. Wm. Dunham, PGM, as Deputy Grand Master

Bro. George E. Dowling, Senior Grand Warden

Bro. Rufus C. Hatheway, PGM, as Junior Grand Warden

Bro. Thomas D. Bradfield, as Grand Treasurer

Bro. Jefferson S. Conover, Grand Secretary

Bro. Rev. J.T. Husted, as Grand Chaplain

Bro. Edwin L. Bowring, as Senior Grand Deacon

Bro. Abraham Schaaf, as Junior Grand Deacon

Bro. E. Harper as Grand Steward

Bro. A.E. Stuck, as Grand Steward

Bro. Crawford Angell, as Grand Marshall

Bro. Henry A. Hydorn, as Grand Tiler

I’ve studied the photo carefully and identified eleven brothers.  You can find most of them labelled in the following silhouette.

Fluhrer- identified from his PM photo from York lodge #410.

Angell- identified from his PM photo from Grand River #34 (confirmed by wearing of the Marshal’s apron and holding of the baton).

Husted – identified by Chaplain’s apron.

Dowling – identified from PGM’s portrait.

Dunham – identified from PGM’s portrait and Deputy Grand Master’s Apron.

Hatheway – identified from PGM portrait and his champion beard.

Conover – identified from Grand Council photo.

Innes – blurry, but no doubting it is him.

Bowring – identified from his PGM photo.

There are two other brothers in crowd that can be identified from Grand River PM photos.  They are Charles Norton (PM 1892) and Edgar Wygant (PM 78, 79, 80).

You have to step back from a photo like this and realize how extremely rare it is in terms of what we have available to us from the Grand Lodge at that time.  Most of the men named above exist as an image in maybe one other photo to our knowledge.  I always hope others will turn up over time, but I’m thankful that we came across this one.

A few final observations.  You can’t help but be a little fascinated by Dunham’s Commandery head-gear.  Nowadays you wouldn’t expect that sort of co-mingling of regalia.  From a historian’s standpoint, it is an interesting nugget when pouring over the photo.  WBro. Wygant’s secretary’s jewel can be seen poking out on the bottom right of the photo.  In talking with Tim Gleisner at the Grand Rapids Public Library, it sounds as if the library might have a second photo that was taken a few seconds or minutes before or after.  I look forward to getting a copy of it and making some comparisons.

Until next time my brothers…

-The Masonic Historian


Category(s): Rick's Masonic History Blog

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