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  • Writer's pictureadrienne waterman

Where is George Washington’s Time Capsule? A Mystery of History

George Washington in Masonic Attire at the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for the U.S. Capitol

Today’s custom of burying time capsules is in part an outgrowth of Masonic cornerstone-laying ceremonies.

In 1793, George Washington, a free mason, performed a masonic ritual upon the laying of the original U.S. Capitol cornerstone — the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation from which all other stones will reference.

Allyn Cox, Oil on Canvas (1973–1974). This painting appears in the Cox Corridors in the House Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Ten o’clock that morning George Washington was escorted by masonic brethren across the Potomac river. He was greeted and joined by fellow Maryland masons on the other side. The procession then advanced to the current Capitol sight for the ceremony. After, the entire assembly barbecued a 500 pound Ox in celebration.

Although the day was extensively documented, there is no evidence the cornerstone has ever been found.

Until now…

The International Time Capsule Society has recently cataloged George Washington’s 1793 Cornerstone with newly adopted time capsule mapping technology.

George Washington’s Cornerstone (1793) NotForgotten Time Capsule Registry Certificate

This exclusive technology includes an interactive map, with a searchable registry. Although “Washington“ is the provided location for this time capsule’s deposited “address,” the map does not reflect this…

So where is it?

Over the years, the Capitol has undergone extensive expansion, remodeling , and reconstruction, but it has never been found. It is unknown whether anything was even inside.

Ninth Architect of the Capitol George White and Senate Sergeant at Arms Martha Pope look on during a search for the Capitol’s first cornerstone in 1991.

In 1991, a search was conducted by the Ninth Architect of the Capitol, George White. A metal detector was used to locate the engraved plate — but it was not found.

In 2018, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society hosted a ceremonial re-enactment in honor of the 225th anniversary. Including a re-enactment of the ritual which included corn for nourishment, wine for refreshment, and oil for joy, in the National Statuary Hall.

Photo from 225th Anniversary of the Laying of the #USCapitol Cornerstone Ceremony in National Statuary Hall

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial was also “proud to announce that internationally honored Masonic scholar S. Brent Morris will deliver a talk titled ‘Precursors of and Influences on the 1793 U.S. Capitol Cornerstone Ceremony,’ revealing a new understanding of Washington’s role in the Masonic cornerstone ceremony of the U.S. Capitol.”

All this, yet the question remains — where is it?

As the International Time Capsule Society contributes another piece of history to this puzzle, we are reminded that this great nation has mysterious origins.

The United States will be celebrating 245 years of independence this July 4th, and although the house of democracy still stands strong — can the same be said for the vision of our founding fathers?

As we investigate further, your thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated.

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We aim to spark a larger conversation on the ideological origins and activities that founded this great nation. Follow-up research will be conducted and posted in the near future.

From then to now, let’s help America’s history remain NotForgotten.

Happy Independence Day 🇺🇸

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