Bullock Museum Masonic Cornerstone

Leveled by the Grand Lodge of Texas in 2001

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The Bullock Texas State History Museum was leveled by Masons from the Grand Lodge of Texas on February 27, 2001. The leveling ceremony was in keeping with a long tradition of leveling ceremonies for government buildings in Texas and the United States.

Bob Bullock, the namesake of the Museum, was an Endowed Member of Hillsboro Lodge No. 196 and member of University Lodge No. 1190. He was also a 33rd Degree member of the Austin Scottish Rite. He insisted that the Museum be “leveled” by the Masons. In a centuries-old ceremony, the cornerstone was added to the Museum’s exterior on the north-east corner. To Masons, the North traditionally represents darkness and the East light, so the placement on the north-east corner represents man’s path from darkness into light or ignorance to enlightenment. In the Masonic cornerstone ceremony, the stone is checked using ancient tools to be certain it’s square, plumb (straight), and level because a building constructed on a poor foundation isn’t strong. Then the cornerstone is consecrated with corn (or grain), wine, and oil — all of which are Masonic symbols of prosperity, health, and peace. Finally, the stone is symbolically tapped into place.

Cornerstones have been part of the construction or dedication of many federal buildings and seats of state government since the beginnings of our country. In previous centuries, laying the cornerstone for a new building was a festive celebration. Parades, speeches, and a Masonic cornerstone ceremony were common practice for a courthouse, city hall, or major government building. Benjamin Franklin, while Grand Master of Pennsylvania, established the tradition beginning with the cornerstone laying of the state house in Philadelphia. George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol building.

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Bullock Museum Masonic Cornerstone Artifact from Austin, TX
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