Looking at a little history in Eagle-Vail
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Masonic Lodges go back 4,000 years, and Masons build things to last.
So when Meadow Mountain Elementary School was demolished last summer, no one was surprised that the Masonic cornerstone and the time capsule behind it were perfectly preserved.
Things change, time passes and Meadow Mountain was knocked down last summer as part of the Homestake Peak School project.
But you don’t demolish an ancient tradition, so some workmen with the demolition crew contacted the local Masonic Lodge, Castle Lodge No. 122. Some Lodge members carefully chipped the cornerstone out of the wall and found the time capsule behind it, a sealed copper box about the size of a stack of coffee table books.
What, they wondered, could possibly be in that time capsule? They decided a little delayed gratification was in order, and they waited until Friday morning’s Homestake Peak School all-school assembly to crack it open and find out.
“What kinds of things do you suppose they might put in a time capsule?” Dave Darrough, head of the local Masonic Lodge, asked hundreds of Homestake Peak students. The students were sitting on their pockets – or as many as was humanly possible – hands in the air.
“You put things in it that might be special, and then you bury it,” said one kindergarten girl.
“Special things,” said a young man.
The Meadow Mountain cornerstone and time capsule were planted Sept. 22, 1973, when the school was being built.
Some of the kids were looking for buried treasure, and by some definitions that’s what they found.
Out came large black and white photographs of the cornerstone laying ceremony, the Masons in their distinctive white aprons and the leaders in black top hats.
A 1973 dollar bill and complete set of U.S. coins was in there.
The Denver Rio Grande schedule outlined when trains rolled through the valley – on time.
A couple newspapers were inside, the Vail Trail and the Eagle Valley Enterprise. There was no Vail Daily back then.
The news hasn’t really changed all that much:
• Adam’s Rib ski area will be the subject of a public meeting. It’s mentioned in a tiny item at the bottom left of the Enterprise’s front page.
• Eagle was considering a tax increase in 1973. Eagle is asking for a tax increase in this November’s election.
• But then you start comparing 1973 prices and smile. A Vail Racquet Club condo costs $26,000.
• John Gallegos was quarterback of the Battle Mountain Huskies.
• There’s a story about the Masonic Lodge and the cornerstone laying ceremony at the new local schools, Meadow Mountain and Battle Mountain High School. That Battle Mountain cornerstone is still in the northeast corner of the building, now remodeled and occupied by Homestake Peak School.
• There’s a photo of Mary Evans and Davolyn and Christa Wallar, who raised $37 for the Jerry Lewis Telethon.
The cornerstone is a marble slab engraved with the name of the building, the date it was laid, and the Masonic Lodge’s distinctive square and compass symbol.
You’ll find cornerstones laid in the northeast corner of most public buildings, Darrough said.
For centuries, builders started constructing a building by laying the cornerstone in a building’s northeast corner. Once it was solid and square, they constructed the rest of the building from that spot, Darrough told Homestake Peak students.
“When you walk by the northeast corner of a public building, things like schools and libraries, one of the things you’ll see is a cornerstone,” Darrough said.
The time capsule also contained Masonic booklets with the names of those who participated. Most are gone; their work remains, as it has for 4,000 years.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.