Historic Masonic Theatre prepares new time capsule for cornerstone

Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 6:50 PM EST
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CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WDBJ) - If you go around the back of Clifton Forge’s Historic Masonic Theatre, and look carefully, you’ll find a bit of history: the original 1905 cornerstone.

“And most of them had a time capsule,” said Glen Bryant, a member of the Clifton Forge Masons Lodge 166. “It wasn’t really a time capsule, but a capsule in it that they had memorabilia in in the cornerstone.”

And the Masons who built the theater more than a hundred years ago were no different.

“There was a lot of coins, a lot of old coins in there, and some squares,” Bryant said. “And there was a set of compasses and gavels in there, which is Masonic symbols, and they were rusted up and ruined.”

Ruined because there was a problem.

“The bad part was the time capsule had a leak in it and any paper documents and stuff were pretty well ruined,” Bryant said.

But when the theater was renovated, they had the idea of a new cornerstone. There was a re-enactment of the original ceremony, but the solid concrete block posed a problem itself.

“Well, the story I’m told was that it was so heavy they didn’t have a place to put it,” said Historic Masonic Theatre Executive Director Justin Reiter.

And so it remained on display inside. Until now.

“We’re building a flower box around there, a little planting area, and the time capsule will slide right in that,” Reiter explained.

A new time capsule, using digital technology to preserve the messages of contributors to the theater from today, to be slid into the new cornerstone.

“I’m hoping people get interested in putting in this time capsule,” said Bryant, “and be part of history next time.”

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