The Turlock Masonic Lodge #395 gathered the community for a cornerstone laying ceremony at Turlock’s Public Safety Facility this morning, honoring a time-old tradition of laying the symbolic foundation stone of public buildings.
Most Worshipful John L. Cooper III led the ceremony outside of the Public Safety Facility, located at 244 N. Broadway Ave., at 11:30 a.m. Turlock Mayor John Lazar, Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman, and Turlock Police Chief Rob Jackson were in attendance and prominently seated.
Formally dedicated Sept. 27, 2013, the $33 million Public Safety Facility is the largest public building in the history of Turlock, its façade made to match that of the Carnegie Arts Center next door.
Now, it will have the Masonic cornerstone in place just west of the base of the flags.
The event included an invocation, the singing of the national anthem by Nora Morriston, young daughter of TPD Administrative Assistant Allison Martin, acknowledgments from both Boyd and Jackson, as well as from Lazar, who quipped that the fact that the Masons still dressed in suit and tie on the more than 100-degree day speaks volumes of their respect for the community.
The official ceremony of the cornerstone by the Masons consisted of weighing the stone against three “jewels” of Masons — the tools they hold sacred in being accomplished in their craft. The jewels were a square, level, and plumb, and the stone was seen as fit against each of these measures meaning it was “well-formed, true, and trusty” and ready for its place at the Turlock Public Safety Facility.
A 50-year time capsule was also set to be buried at the ceremony, containing various items including an invitation and program from the day’s event, a Turlock Police Department badge as well as a Turlock Fire Department badge, patches from the Turlock Police and Fire Departments, Turlock police and fire 2013 Annual Reports, as well as photos from different stages of the building’s life, including the groundbreaking ceremony, construction, dedication ceremony, and open house.
The history of the Masonic lodge goes back to the middle ages, when Freemasons were given the task of building the castles and cathedrals of England and Scotland. Because of the dangerous nature of the stonework, Masons formed localized groups called lodges to take care of each other and their families. Eventually the Mason craft guild shifted into a fraternity, according to www.freemason.org.
According to the Masons of California site, masonry is the world's first and largest fraternal organization. It is “based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to help make the world a better place” and its mission highlights community involvement, including investment in children, neighborhoods, and the future.
Vice Mayor Forrest White, Councilmembers Amy Bublak and Bill DeHart, City Attorney Phaedra Norton, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder, Director of Development Services and City Engineer Mike Pitcock, Turlock Police Neighborhood Services Supervisor Bob Boyd, City of Turlock Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke, and Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva were also in attendance at the ceremony.
City Manager Roy Wasden was not present at the ceremony because he is on vacation.