Ellensburg Fire Station Headquarters
Ellensburg, WA – July 10, 2016
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Lodge Officers, Representatives of Kittitas County Fire and Rescue, Distinguished Guests, Friends, Brethren all.
It is with great pleasure to be here today to be a part of this ceremony for the City of Ellensburg 2-9 Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue Facility.
“Our ancient and honorable fraternity, ancient , as having existed from time immemorial, and honorable, as tending to make all men so who are strictly obedient to its precepts.
It is an institution having for its foundation the practice of the social and moral virtues; and to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced, that, in every age and in very country, men pre-eminent for their moral and intellectual attainments have encouraged it and promoted its interests. Nor has it been thought derogatory to their dignity that monarchs have, for a season, exchanged the scepter for the trowel , to patronize our mysteries and join in our assemblies.”
The Masonic Cornerstone Laying Ceremony you have witnessed finds its way from hundreds of years ago. A truly historic event that marks the significance in the construction of a new building structure.
Though architects base their work by consciously using forms, fantasy and emphasizing extremely modern approaches to their designs; the traces of the ancient past will remain embedded within these building in the years to come.
Oftentimes, Freemasons are asked to dedicate proposed building structures for the purposes of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens as well as their health and welfare, education, religion, civic service, and the operations of government.
This was done by the Grandmaster by symbolically placing the cornerstone in its proper place, after which it is checked, or proven by the Junior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master and Grand Master respectively. They check the stone with a square, a level and a plumb not only to assure the stone itself fits properly but to remind all present of their virtue, equality, and rectitude. This was followed by the Masonic Consecration of the stone, a deeply symbolic ceremony during which the cornerstone, following ancient custom, was anointed with corn, wine and oil: corn representing abundance and plenty; wine the symbol of strength and gladness and oil representing peace and joy.
Ancient builders utilized the cornerstone as the reference point to precisely guide them in settting other foundation stones over another. It being the first stone placed above ground in the northeast corner of the building, it also serves as a control point from which all related stonework should be laid out.
However, this method of laying out building foundation became obsolete, when more precise instruments where introduced in the development of steel frame construction in the 20th Century.
This auspicious event for the City of Ellensburg also serves as another historic undertaking which officially began in 2006 when voters approved this City to annex into Kittitas County Fire District 2. Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue (KVFR) became operational on Janaury 1, 2007. It was the blending of two very active jurisdictions – City of Ellensburg Fire Department and Kittitas County Fire District 2. Both jurisdictions have a long and cooperative history in the lower Valley.
Concerned local citizens and volunteers such as yourselves are testaments of the ongoing effort & support of the vision dedicated to protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Kittitas County from the hazards of fire, explosion and life safety hazards by fostering a safe environment through inspection, enforcement, regulation, investigation, and public education.
All these are designed to reduce the deaths, injuries, and property losses of your county.
On behalf of The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Washington, I wish to thank Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue for inviting us, we wish you all the success and God Bless.
WB George M. Franco
Grand Orator – 2016