History, then and now, in the making, and your chance to help make it a reality for the Canton Viaduct Masonic Memorial. From the Milestone Public Flyer.
The Canton Viaduct is the longest and oldest stone viaduct in the Western Hemisphere. The foundation stone was laid in 1834, and it was completed in 1835 by operative stonemasons, many of whom were also Freemasons from area towns and Lodges.
To commemorate the viaduct’s 175th anniversary and the Freemasons who were involved in the construction of this historic structure, it is being proposed that a granite stone obelisk be erected in or near the Canton Viaduct Park next to the waterfall on the west side of the structure near the Neponset Street opening. It is very likely that all of the Towns in the area at that time had Freemasons who worked on the Canton Viaduct.
This summer or fall, a celebration commemorating the 175th anniversary of this National Historic Monument is expected to be held in Canton at the site of the structure. It is anticipated that numerous dignitaries, both Masonic and non-Masonic, will be in attendance.
It is hoped that this Monument and Milestone would remind all of the contributions of the Freemasons to the development of industry in America. The obelisk would be 8 feet tall in addition to a buried concrete, four foot deep foundation base on which it would stand. There would be a cavity to hold a small Time Capsule to be opened at the 300th anniversary of the construction of the Viaduct (A.D. 2135), have a number of Masonic
symbols carved into it, alluding to the industrial importance of the viaduct since it was so instrumental in jump-starting industry not only in this area, but in all of greater Boston, as well as the distance to Boston and the distance to the Massachusetts Grand Lodge in Boston.
Site work (hopefully this would be done by volunteers) would consist of laying cobblestones around the monument in a design such that the obelisk also served as a sun dial. If there is enough interest in funding this project, a Rough Ashlar and a Finished Ashlar would be placed on either side of the monument near the base. Ideally, an interpretive bronze plaque would have listed all the Lodges and donors who participated in the project and possibly donors who participated in Memorial’s construction.
This could be an excellent public relations tool for the local Freemasonry in general as well as local businesses who contribute in the area. The Time Capsule would also contain the names of donors and all those involved in the project to be remembered when it was opened 125 years from now.
The obelisk with all the carvings would cost approximately $6, 450. The Ashlars would be $125 to $150 each. Site work would be an additional $200 or so to cover the cost of cobble stones and other materials. The work is anticipated to be voluntary. Add another $200 for the cost of the base and time capsule. The upper estimate of cost for this project would be approximately $7,150, though that price could vary depending on several factors.
This grand project cannot happen without the cooperation and generous donations of Masons, local businesses, and individuals who would like to help ensure the construction of this highly visible icon to America’s Freemasons and their place in the history of building America. The Obelisk would essentially look like the diagram below.
Reserve a Space in the Time Capsule:
Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will be entitled to place an 8 inch X 11inch photo or document into the Time Capsule with whatever subject matter they choose. Those contributing $100 will be entitled to place a 2 inch X 3 inch photo or document of their choice into the Capsule. Please note, of course, that space is limited. The anticipated date of the opening of the Time Capsule is 2,135 AD, which is 300 years after the completion
of the Canton Viaduct.
For more information about this project please contact John Ciccotelli, Master of Blue Hill Lodge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call (508) 636-5253. If you would like to contribute to the success of this historic project, your tax deductible donations may be made out and sent to Blue Hill Lodge, A.F. & A. M., c/o Ralph Staples, Secretary, 28 Wardwell Road, Canton, MA 02021. Be sure to put Canton Viaduct Masonic Memorial on the Note at the bottom of the check. Donations can also be made through PayPal.
To do this, go to the PayPal website, type in the amount you want to donate, enter the email address: email@example.com and click submit. You willr eceive a verification of your donation from Blue Hill Lodge for your tax records.
The Freemason Square and Compasses carved in the Foundation Stone with the date of April 20, 1834. The foundation stone was laid on Sunday, April 20, 1834 with a Masonic foundation stone ceremony to give the structure a “soul” and ensure it’s stability. This day may have been chosen to coincide with Paul Revere’s Copper Mill founding in 1801 or the election of Jacques De Molay in 1292, the last Grand Master of the Knight’s Templar.
The majority of the B & P’s Board of Directors were Freemasons, including President Thomas B. Wales and Joseph W. Revere. President Wales was very involved in Freemasonry and gave three of his clipper ships Masonic names: Morning Star, Hesperus (Evening Star), and Templar. According to Masonic tradition, foundation stones are located in the northeast corner of structures with inscriptions such as the Masonic emblem (square and compasses) and the date, which would most likely contain a time capsule. Freemasons use Fibonacci numbers in their structures and there are examples of these “golden ration” numbers in the Canton Viaduct:
- The inscription on the back of the cornerstone is recessed into an elongated octagon.
- The original roadway portal was built through the eighth cavity from the south end.
- There are 13 voussoirs in each river portal.
- There are 21 voussoirs in each deck arch.
- There are 21 deck arches on each side of the bridge.
- There are 21 cavities in the bridge
Canton Viaduct cornerstone back inscription reads: “FOUNDATION STONE
LAID APRIL 20, 1834.” The Operative or Craft Freemasons’ calendar year was5834 A.L. (Anno Lucis – In the Year of Light).
Operative Freemasons laid the cornerstone (the final stone in the structure) in the south end of the west parapet. According to Masonic tradition this location was selected to it being the farthest distance from the foundation stone located in the northeast corner. There are no Masons marks on the front, back or sides of the cornerstone but there may be some on the other surfaces.