'Oil Up The Stone': Time Capsule Mania Again Grips The State House

June 17, 2015

Amid masonic pomp and colonial circumstance, new coins were added to a time capsule sealed into the State House's cornerstone Wednesday.

Hundreds of onlookers and school children filled the capitol grounds to witness a lengthy ceremony which saw modern day freemasons sanctify the corner stone before it's put back into the 220 year old building.

Governor Charlie Baker spoke of the historical significance of the coins and newspapers first placed into the stone's time capsule by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere in 1795.

"What makes this time capsule so unusual is it's not an interpretation from an historian, it's not passage in a textbook. it' the story that our predecessors from that revolutionary time wanted us to know and understand," Baker said.

Joining the collection of items left in the stone are a Massachusetts quarter, several other contemporary coins and a new silver plaque commemorating the event.

"Two-hundred and 20 years ago, Samuel Adams and Paul Revere climbed this hill and put these artifacts in this corner stone. And they did select those artifacts very carefully. They were artifacts that reflected the history of this area of the world and it's struggle to be independent and free," Secretary
 of State William Galvin said.

Members of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts paraded up Park Street and onto the State House grounds accompanied by clydesdales, colonial military reenactors and drum and fife bands. The head of the Masons, Harvey Waugh, lead a ceremony using traditional stonework tools to sanctify the stone. Corn, wine and oil was solemnly poured onto the stone as Masons recited lines on the significance of each symbol.

Once the rock was properly oiled, wined and corned up, officials from the Massachusetts State Archives and the MFA placed a new time capsule with the original and new items into the hollow side of the stone.

"We have a unique opportunity here to reflect on civic service, our democracy, our history and the ideas that we debate every day as we try to shape our present and our  future and to think about our own legacy," Baker said.

Workers discovered the time capsule while repairing the building last year. The artifacts had been on display at the Museum of Fine Arts before being sealed back into the stone today.

This isn't the first time the time capsule had been discovered. In 1855 during State House construction work.
 


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