GUTHRIE, Okla. – It’s a tradition that will not be celebrated at the new Charter Oak Elementary.
“One of the public ceremonies that the fraternity has always performed for communities are the laying of cornerstones,” said Robert Davis, who is on the state board of freemasons. “We`ve been doing it for a thousand years because our forefathers were the stonemasons of Europe.”
Davis says the freemasons have placed more than 400 cornerstones in public buildings across the state and his fraternity takes pride in giving back.
“I think we give in Guthrie alone around $70,000 in student scholarships each year,” said Davis.
There’s a cornerstone in the district’s stadium and another at a middle school. But now, there’s a hole in the wall at Charter Oak.
“We received a request from a member of the Guthrie School Board to provide a commemorative celebration on their new elementary school, and it was our understanding that this had been approved by the superintendent of schools,” said Davis.
No members of the school board agreed to talk to us on camera, but off camera, the board’s president said members were uncomfortable allowing the masons to put their cornerstone on the school. He says they’re worried they couldn’t accommodate other organizations in the same way. The board also voted down the approval of the cornerstone on Monday.
“I think it`s a lost opportunity for the school to have an open house, to make a big celebration out the fact that the public came together and they built this wonderful facility for our children,” said Davis.
A time capsule would have also been included with the cornerstone. The district would have been able to decide what items would go inside.