GREENVILLE — A rare and important piece of American history will visit The Treaty City in April.
The gavel used by President George Washington to perform the ceremonial cornerstone laying for the U.S. Capitol building in 1793 is being brought to Greenville for a series of special events April 20 to 22.
The gavel is made of the same Maryland marble originally used in the interior of the Capitol, and its handle is crafted of a dark, native American cherry of unique grain. A gold plate, engraved with a brief citation of its history, was affixed to the top of the marble head in 1856.
The artifact is normally housed in special vault at PNC Bank in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of Potomac Lodge No. 5. It is brought out occassionally to attend cornerstone laying events and for educational purposes. Members of Lodge No. 5 will escort the gavel on its travels to Greenville.
During its brief stay, the public will be able to view the gavel at Greenville Masonic Lodge No. 143, 202 Memorial Drive, in Greenville, April 22 from 3:30 to 8 p.m. There will be no cost to view.
The Fort GreeneVille Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will also participate in hosting the festivities.
Before going on display at the lodge, the gavel will visit Tri-Village Schools (April 20) and Greenville City K-8 (April 21), where students there will have the chance to see and learn about the artifact up close.
“We’re bringing the gavel to Greenville to celebrate the 300th anniversary of modern Masonry,” said Greenville Worshipful Master Tom Baker, noting the connection between President Washington and the city, originally Fort Greenville, which was founded by one of Washington’s generals, “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
“There are many requests throughout the year to get this gavel, and they only give a handful of requests, and we were lucky enough to get it,” he said. “We were working for 15 months, and got word in December.”
Baker calls this an extraordinary opportunity to see “one of the original artifacts of our nation.”
“It’s never been in this area before. We want to share it with the community of Greenville,” he said.
The 414 members of Greenville Masonic Lodge No. 143 are proud to host this special event. For further information on the lodge or the Washington Gavel, contact Baker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-548-4671.
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