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Rebuilding The Walls

(An excerpt from Goodly Heritage by Dwight L. Smith, PGM)

Exactly one year from the time the cornerstone was laid, the magnificent edifice was dedicated in ceremonies extending over three days to include the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge. Formal dedicatory rites were held Monday afternoon, May 24 [1909], in the Grand Lodge auditorium.

Times and tastes had changed since the first temple was dedicated in 1851 so that no musical ode had been composed for rendition by a church choir, nor was there a Victorian poem in iambic pentameter. But the purple prose of Grand Master Charles N. Mikels made up for the deficiency. Describing an imaginary visit by Solomon, King of Israel, to behold the model of excellence erected by the Freemasons of Indiana, the Grand Master ascended to heights of oratory rarely attained by Masonic speakers.

Choral music was provided by a Masonic triple quartet, in which one of the singers was William H. Morrison, Past Master of Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398, who, exactly 30 years later, would be presiding in that identical room as Grand Master of Masons in Indiana.

That evening more than fifteen hundred persons jammed into the temple for public exercises and open house. So great was the throng that one distinguished Freemason, Governor Thomas R. Marshall, was unable to get into the building to deliver his scheduled response to the address of welcome. According to the Indianapolis Star,

The Governor telephoned his plight from the drug store across the street, asking the person who took the message to notify Calvin W. Prather, the Grand Lodge Secretary. Mr. Prather was on the platform of the temple auditorium. He found Elmer F. Gay and asked him to escort the Governor into the temple. Gay managed to get out of the building through the basement, the only place which the crowd did not possess. However, when he reached the drug store the state Executive had left. An interval of twenty minutes had elapsed, it is estimated, between the telephone call and Gay's arrival at the drug store. The next heard from the Governor he had been located at his home and announcement was made to the crowd from the platform of the auditorium of the Governor's inability to arrive.

Throughout the evening, which must have been a joyous one, conducted tours were taken through all parts of the building. Receptions were held on each floor. "There was music and song in each of the six lodge rooms for the amusement of the visitors," the Star reported, "not to mention punch for the thirsty and carnations and hat pins for the women."

Goodly Heritage, pp. 110-111.