Square And CompassBlock Number: 133
“SQUARE AND COMPASS”
BLOCK #133 ON QUILT TRAIL
On Saturday morning June 22, 2013 Jack Wood (Past Master and current Secretary) and Louis Wall (Historian) as well as a group of fellow Masons watched with admiration as the Mystic Tie Masonic Lodge of Marion joined the McDowell Quilt Trail while the block was installed on their building. After discussions for over a year considering other types of commercial signs the Masons decided on a quilt block to contribute something “personal and nostalgic” to the community. It is believed that the Marion Lodge is the only Masonic Lodge in North Carolina with a quilt block.
The Marion Lodge was founded in McDowell County and their building constructed in 1865. They are already planning in anticipation of their upcoming 150th anniversary in 2015 which is also the same year they will honor the 100th Master of the Lodge. The Mystic Tie refers to their fraternal bond and they are #237 under the North Carolina Grand Lodge. They currently have 169 active members, several of them having been active for over 60 years, some over 50 years and numerous over 25 years. In 2012 they raised twelve new Master Masons and took in the youngest in their history at age 19 and also their oldest at 77 years old. They are very proud to have one of their members, Walton Clap III serving as the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge in Raleigh, N.C.
The Masons are the oldest fraternity in the world and trace back to the craft guilds of stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals in the Middle Ages. King Solomon’s Temple is the master model for the arrangement of the Lodge’s floor plan, rituals and symbols. The group of craftsmen who constructed Solomon’s Temple were of different races and creeds but united in their labors and craft resulting in a historical creation. The stonemason’s craft and Solomon’s Temple symbolize the modern Masonic assemblies, adopted from the background of the Temple’s components, orientation and composition. Two of their primary architectural tools were the carpenter’s square and compass, the symbols of which are the international emblem representing Mason Lodges everywhere.
Jack Wood, Secretary of the Marion Lodge, states that to become involved with the Lodge their motto is: “2B1Ask1” (to be one ask one). A committee then investigates the character and references of the individual and a secret ballot election is held. A prerequisite is the belief in the existence of a supreme being of divine wisdom and the organization is represented by many faiths and various professional backgrounds.
Obligations include obeying the law of the Supreme Being and architect of the universe, the laws of the state, act as befitting members of society and attend meetings. Morality and ethics are important in daily living and character building, self-improvement, and service to the community are stressed. A candidate travels through three degrees representing stages of personal development, understanding and knowledge of self.
The initiate first enters as an “apprentice” and the second degree is as a “fellow craftsman”. These Freemasons then become Master Masons by completing the third and highest degree. As a Master Mason he may choose to continue his journey through further advancements and become a Shriner. Many of Marion’s Master Masons are Shriners, the well-known founders of the Shriner Hospitals throughout the world. Also connected with the Masons are two female fraternal groups: the Order of the Eastern Star and Order of the Amaranth, the members of which must have a specific relationship or affiliation with the Masons.
The main officers of the Lodge are the Master of the Lodge (President) who is voted on every year, the elections designed so there will be a new leader each year. The Senior Warden serves as Vice President, the Jr. Warden as 2nd Vice president and there is a Secretary/Treasurer. Other appointed offices are included. The Masons are involved in charities and community service activities and also support the North Carolina Orphanage in Oxford, N.C. and the Masons and Eastern Star home in Greensboro, N.C. for Senior citizens. Funds for their programs are through dues and donations.
The 6-foot by 6-foot block “Square and Compass”, Number 133 on the McDowell Quilt Trail, is located at 169 South Main Street, Marion N.C. With the use of scaffolding five tiers high, it was centered between two columns of the brick building by volunteers Mike Lucas, Alan Scholl and Jack Raker. Chairwoman Jill Lucas presented the Certificate of Authenticity to Jack Wood and other attending Masons.
The block faces south on the Mystic Tie Masonic Lodge building and is easily seen when entering town. The design of the block featuring the traditional square and compass is surrounded by shapes and patterns that each has a very specific meaning and significance to the Masons. The customary colors of the Masons are used in the block, every hue having its individual symbolic import in the Mason’s platform of training.