Temple Times - Winter 2022

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Winter 2022


Masonic Charities One Masonic Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022

A Message from Michael D. McKee, Executive Director We are excited to report major progress on the Temple’s illumination project. The fixtures are being manufactured and the inside electrical work is being completed. Like most businesses, we were impacted by slow manufacturing and increased costs. We are staying the course and hope to complete the project over the next six months or less. In other news, our archivist has completed preserving the Past Masters Jewels in our collection. We are working on preserving our old warrants and other historical letters by flattening the items, placing the pressed documents

in mylar sheets (a special type of stretched polyester) and then indexing and storing them for future generations. This work is carried out with our donors in mind. The team understands that you care enough to give us financial support to preserve history, and this motivates us to give it our all.

The White House Renovation of 1948 and the Masonic “Truman Stone” by Michael Comfort In 1948, during the presidency of Brother Harry S. Truman, the White House was in such need of repair that the Truman family had to move out. Much of this was the result of the British setting fire to the “Executive Mansion,” as it was then known, in 1814, during the War of 1812. A decision was made to entirely gut the building to the walls and rebuild it using the most modern technology of the time. At this time, stones were uncovered that bore stone masons’ marks. President Truman, Past Grand Master of Missouri, 1940 - 1941, decided to present one of these stones to each Grand Lodge in the United States. Pictured here is the stone that was received by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which is now on display in our exhibit hall. The letter that was received with the stone, which was sent on White House stationary, reads as follows: “Right Worshipful Sir: Through the good offices of an ambassador from the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, which is Masonically

The First Lodge Warranted in St. Louis, The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania by Michael Comfort

supreme in the Capital of the Nation, I place in your hands a stone taken from the walls of the White House during its just-completed rebuilding. A sufficient number of these stones, each with a Masonic symbol upon it, was discovered to give one to each Grand Lodge in the United States. These evidences (sic) of the number of members of the Craft who built the President’s official residence so intimately aligns Freemasonry with the formation and the founding of our Government, that I believe your Grand Lodge will cherish this link between the Fraternity and the Government of the Nation, of which The White House is a symbol.”

Among the treasures here at the Masonic Library & Museum of Pennsylvania are two that may come as a surprise. The first is a letter from Brother Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) and 11 other Master Masons. It was sent to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on Aug. 2, 1808, requesting a lodge warrant for the first lodge in the city of Saint Louis, Louisiana Territory. In the early years of Freemasonry, many Grand Lodges issued warrants for lodges nowhere near where the Grand Lodge originated. Our Grand Lodge responded quickly. A letter from Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Right Worshipful Grand Master James Milnor was sent to Right Worshipful Grand Secretary George A. Baker on Sept. 10, 1808, informing him of

the request to form a new lodge in Saint Louis, with instructions that it should be done as soon as possible. Five days later, this warrant was issued by our Grand Lodge, naming “Our Worthy and much Respected Brother Meriwether Lewis, Esquire” as Master Elect. At the time, Meriwether was Governor of Louisiana Territory. All three letters are in excellent condition, were professionally restored and preserved between sheets of nearly transparent mulberry paper and are now on display in our exhibit hall. Lodge No. 111 was constituted there on Nov. 8, 1808, with Meriwether named as the first Worshipful Master.

Learn More or Donate

Visit MasonicCharitiesLegacy.org for further information on how you can include the Masonic Charities in your estate plan. Or, call us for our Estate Planning Guide, QCD Kit or Income for Life Guide. Thank you for supporting the Masonic Charities. To learn more about opportunities to support the Masonic Library & Museum of Pennsylvania, visit PaMasonicTemple.org/donate-now, call 1-800-599-6454 or email giving@pamasonictemple.org.

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