Our Lodge is about 215 years old. So we've got a LOT of history to tell. Here are just some extra tales to help clear up some lingering questions.
Whats in a name, what would inspire someone to name the Lodge Corner Stone?
A corner-stone is the foundation on which the entire building is supported to rest. This, of course, is the most important stone in the whole edifice. Operative masons conduct impressive ceremonies. The assistance of speculative masons is often, and always ought to be, to give dignity to the occasion. In the rich imagery of Orientalism, the corner-stone is often referred to as the appropriate symbol of a chief or prince who is the defense as well as a sure prop and support of all who put their trust in his mission. To the various properties that are necessary to constitute a true corner-stone, its firmness and durability, its perfect form, and its peculiar position as the connecting link between walls, one must attribute the important character that it has assumed in the language of symbolism. Freemasonry has preserved this ancient and universal language and could not, as it may well be assumed, have neglected to adopt the corner-stone among its most cherished and impressive symbols; and hence it has referred to it in many of its most significant lessons of morality and truth. This symbolic reference of the corner-stone of a material edifice to a mason starts with the intellectual task of erecting a spiritual temple in his heart, and is therefore beautifully sustained in the allusions to all the various parts and qualities which are to be found in a "well-formed, trust and trusty" corner-stone. Its form and substance are both seized by the comprehensive grasp of the science of the symbolic.
The corner-stone of an edifice must be perfectly square on its surfaces, and the walls to be erected upon it should not deviate from the required line of perpendicularity which can give strength and proportion to the building. Among the Greeks, who were highly poetic and imaginative people, the square was deemed a figure of perfection, and "the square or cubical man" was a term used to designate a man of unsullied integrity. Hence one of their most eminent metaphysicians has said that "he who valiantly sustains the shocks of adverse fortune, demeaning himself uprightly, is truly good and of a square posture, without reproof, and he who would assume such a square posture should often subject himself to the perfectly square test of justice and integrity."
So perhaps this is why the original petitioners chose this symbol as the name of our honorable and valued Lodge.
We meet on or before the Full of the moon, okay so what does that mean?
Well, In the early days, many Masonic Lodges used to organize their meeting nights to coincide with phases of the Full Moon. this had to a lot with the fact that transportation was very poor in those days. Getting to the Lodge from home was often an issue. Having Lodge the same night as a Full Moon was to help ensure the brothers traveling to and from Lodge would have the best advantage to aid them in navigating on the rough back roads and footpaths. Over the years transportation and roads improved and thus many Lodges gave up the old practice. There are in the United States less than 500 "Moon Lodges" today. Corner Stone Lodge holds dear to our historic roots and traditions this not being the least is one of many ancient Masonic traditions we continue to enjoy today.
The road to 585 Washington Street, how did Corner Stone Lodge came to be at our present location?
In 1794 Benjamin Bosworth, one of the original petitioners for the Lodge, purchased a lot of land from Ebeneezer Delano. The lot of land was on the north side of what is now Surplus Street. On this plot Bosoworth, being a carpenter by trade, built a 2-story framed hose with the typical floor plan of the era.
On Monday, April 6th of 1801, Bosworth and Amos Brown entered an agreement to utilize the second floor of the house for the purpose of forming a Masonic Lodge. Within this agreement it was state the the brethren would be responsible to pay, through rent, for the 'building' of the Lodge up to the amount of $496.61 with $23.17 as interest for seven months which was the estimated total cost to complete the needed additions.
The additions were complete, and the membership continued to pay the agreed fees as rent and as a better part of the Lodges funds had also been appropriated to defray the costs, which were beyond the original estimated amount, tensions had begun to arise. The membership proposed to Brown that he repay them for these extra expenses.
On Wednesday, October 23rd, 1805, after if was discovered that Brown was unable to repay the membership, he proposed to give up all of his rights, titles, claims and demands of the Lodge to the membership. In a private agreement with Bosworth, Brown agreed to pay the extra sum of money directly to him.
One year later, Brown who was burdened with the weight of repaying Bosworth, abruptly rushed into the Lodge during a meeting. He extinguished the candles and told everyone to exit immediately. Once they had left they had advised with the District Deputy Past Master, John D. Dunbar to go back to the Lodge to request a return of the Lodges regalia (Three pieces of which were genuine Paul Revere silver, and was returned) and to figure out a settlement with Brown. Amos declined to settle. So the membership felt justified to seeking out aid from Grand Loge on the matter. However, Bosworth and Brown strongly disagreed with the method. The membership put forth a petition to produce a document to settle "This disagreeable business". Studley Samson, Nathanial Winsor, Jr, Thomas Winsor, Jr, George Loring, John Pattin, Nathaniel Holmes, Zadock Bradford, Solomon Washburn and Phineas Spruage were the signers.
During the months of March and April of 1806, the membership held meetings in John Pattins shop. On Monday, May 5th they held a meeting at Joshua Winsor's new hall. Also at this meeting Captain Bradford Sampson took his first two degrees.
In early 1825 the Master of Corner Stone Lodge, Gershom B. Weston had ordered a committee to contact a builder to erect a Lodge upon land which was purchased from Zenas Faunce. The membership ratified an agreement by which the Master took a deed of the land and hall and gave in exchange a bond to the committee.
On Tuesday, October 11th the finished Lodge, which is the front portion of our current building, was dedicated with the company of a band. The membership marched to the Unitarian Church where the Senior Chaplain of Grand Lodge had delivered the Dedicatory Address. It wasn't until the mid-to-late 1950's that the growth of Freemasonry and Corner Stone's membership started to push up against the walls of the small Lodge. It was then a decision to figure out how to best accommodate this growth and what to do with the, then 131 year old, building. A decision to buy new lodgings was made. Of the considered buildings to buy were; Mattakeeset Hall (Odd Fellows of Duxbury), Partridge Academy and finally the Unitarian Parrish House which was purchased and then added to the existing building you see today.