1869 Capitol Cornerstone Laid

The West Virginia Journal
November 10, 1869

The Laying of the Corner Stone.

Last Wednesday was a day which will be long remembered in the history of Charleston, for on that day was placed the corner rock of the temporary State House building at this place.

The Masonic Fraternity, represented by Kanawha Lodge No. 20 and Salena Lodge No. 27, formed themselves at the hour of 11 A. M., into procession on Front street, accompanied by the I. O. O. F. in full array, also the Kanawha Fire Company, with their engines newly painted and adorned with flags of the Union, and a goodly number of our citizens who were not members of either of the above organizations, which altogether made the procession the largest and finest displayed of any perhaps that ever took place in Charleston. The procession, under command of Capt. R. Q. Laidley and Gen. John S. Witcher, as Marshals, marched through the principal streets to the Capital square, where they met quite a crowd already assembled, which, with those in the procession, numbered at least 2,000, out of the 2,750 inhabitants of the town.

The ceremonies of laying the corner stone are given in full in another column.

Short and pointed speeches were made by Col. B. H. Smith, Judges Ferguson and Brown, and Capt. C. W. Smith, all of which were received with enthusiasm and applause. A collection was taken up amount to $34.00, which was place upon the corner stone, as a donation to the workmen.

On behalf of the Masonic Fraternity, we return grateful thanks to Bro. A. T. Laidley for the energy and attentiveness manifested in making the demonstration a success; also to Mr. Phillips, we are under obligations both for carving the Masonic signs and emblems upon the stone, and for his manly assistance rendered in laying the stone to its place in the wall.

Everything passed off pleasantly and we feel gratified that we have placed the corner stone in the Capitol Building of the growing State of West Virginia. A corner stone that will be looked upon with admiration and delight for many years to come; a corner stone that reflects honor both upon the State House Company of the town of Charleston and the workmen in stone and mortar, who will rear a monument to the memory of the people of the Kanawha valley which, we trust, will stand in beauty and magnificence during years that will be numbered in the far off future. A corner stone on which is inscribed the significant symbols, the square and compasses on the one side, and on the other, the date "A. L. 5369," upon which Masons traveling and resident will always, with respect to the memorable and ancient body that laid it there, give due respect to its time honored institutions, whose mystic signs and land-marks of early origin, antidates the language we speak, and whose actual history spans a period which none but the worthy can ever know, or read, or learn.

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