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Civic Masonry

March 2023
1min read

Fraternal Arts,” the portfolio of Masonic symbols we presented in our October/November issue last year, noted that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Masonic symbology “became a common part of the decorative arts, incised into furniture, woven into rugs, shaped into watch parts, blown into bottles, enriching the texture and aesthetics of everyday life.”

And that’s not all, Dan E. Shepherd writes to tell us from Sandusky, Ohio: “In 1818 the Masonic square and compass transcended mere decoration and were forever imprinted in the minds of the citizens of our beautiful city. I quote from Sandusky’s Yesterdays, by a local historian, Charles E. Frohman: ‘When Sandusky was platted, the surveyor, Hector Kilbourn, imposed upon the regularity of the streets laid at right angles, the square and compass of the Masonic order. Kilbourn, a Mason, was first master of Science Lodge, founded in Sandusky in 1818. Remembering that Monroe St. was the southernmost street (at that time), the corner of the square would have rested south of it, while Elm and Poplar streets formed the ends of the square. Superimposed would have been the compass, down Miami and Huron avenues, and projected to the central point at Market Street and Columbus Ave. Modern traffic has made these angling streets unpopular, and those who find directions puzzling often have trouble with Sandusky’s streets.’


“It is sort of a standing joke around here,” Mr. Shepherd goes on, “to curse the ‘demented Mason’ who laid out our streets....It would be extremely interesting to find out, through your readers, if any other Masons so permanently inscribed their symbolism on any other city’s life and history.”

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