From The Belmont Dispatch, June 10, 1910.
THRONGS OF INTERESTED PEOPLE SAW THE CORNER STONE LAID
Solemn and Impressive Masonic Rights were Given by the Grand Lodge Last Saturday—Valuable Records Placed in Stone— The Belmont Band Played—Streets Gaily Decorated
On Saturday afternoon the fourth day of June with weather so ideal that it appeared furnished to order the people of this township united in a public appreciation of the gift of by Mr. Elmore A. Willets of a new public hall in which all the municipal business of the Village of Belmont and the Town of Amity will be transacted and which will afford a safe depository in its strong vaults […?] hundreds of visitors came from other towns to take part in or witness the ceremony of laying the corner stone by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of New York State and the solemn rites of that fraternal order were heard by the large assemblage with earnest attention reaching a sound climax when the stone was laid in its permanent resting place by the Grand Master with the invocation:
“Almighty and Eternal God by whom all things made Grant that whatsoever shall be builded[sic] on this stone may be to Thy glory and to the honor of Thy great name to which be praised forevermore.”
The program began at 2 o'clock p.m. with the opening of Belmont Lodge in the Masonic rooms enclose about 4 o'clock. judge Chas. H Brown gave a short oration published in full herewith which he extended to Mr. Willets a fitting tribute for his generous gift and gave eloquent expression to the needs of our village and town and described the magnificent building which will satisfy it
The Weather was Ideal
The sun rose Saturday morning in a flawless sky. Gloomy storm clouds which had shrouded the earth all the week gave way during the night and Saturday morning the few small clouds of mist hanging low about the hills were the only ones in sight and were just an added assurance of fair weather.
Belmonters were about early and flags and bunting soon hung from every business place while residences all over the village blossomed patriotically with the national colors.
Right worshipful Milton W Davison of Canisteo and Right Worshipful William M. Ufford of Elmira arrived on the 9: 54 Erie train and were met at the depot by Assistant Grand Lecturer Harlan C. Vanderhoef, now Deputy Grandmaster of this district and Master J. J. Delong of Belmont Lodge this party with C. N. Tasker driving his new Maxwell car visited Belvidere Farms where they were received by Mrs. Clark and Miss Emery and shown the beautiful residence and some of the attractive points of the farms
List of Grand Lodge Officers
The headquarters of the officers of the Grand Lodge was made at the [Belmont?] and they there prepared for the afternoon ceremony. At two o'clock the appointed time for […?] lodge the Masonic […?] were […?]. The brethren […?] in three rows about the […?]. The Lodge was opened by the local officers and the officers of the Grand Lodge announcedt and received with grand honors. The Grand Lodge officers and those acting as such were
R. W. Milton W. Davison of Canisteo, Grand Master;
H. W. Wm. M. U Ufford of Elmira Grand Marshall;
R. W. Benjamin F Brundage of Andover, Deputy Grand Master;
R. W. F. W. Warner of Angelica Senior Grand Warden;
R. W. F. R. Utter of Friendship, Junior Grand Warden;
Past District Deputy, Geo. H. Swift, of Cuba as Grand Chaplain;
W Master Ed. Gilbert of Rushford as Grand Secretary;
W Brother F. M. Leonard, Past Master and Past High Priest of Wellsville as Grand Treasurer;
W Master T B Wardner of Friendship as a Master Architect;
J J Delong, Worshipful Master;
A. A. Norton, Senior Warden, and W G Hagmaier, Senior Deacon of Belmont Lodge acted as Grand Stewards.
Presented Silver Trowel to G M.
Passed Master H. P. Mapes presented Grand Master Davison with a sterling silver ivory handle trowel in behalf of Belmont Lodge engraved as follows:
“Presented to R.W. Milton W Davison by Belmont Lodge, No. 474, F & A M. with this trowel was laid the corner stone of the Village Hall, June 4, 1910.”
Grand Master Davison accepted the trowel, thanking the lights with feeling and assuring them it would ever be preserved as a momento of a most enjoyable occasion.
Ceremonies at the Building.
Forming in line, headed by the Belmont band, the long line of Masons circled the Village Park and the Grand Lodge was formed about the corner stone, the Grand Master accompanied by the Deputy Grand Master and steward bearing the silver cup containing corn in the east; the Senior Grand Warden and steward with cup of wine in the west, and the Junior Grand Warden and steward with a cup of oil, in the south. The remaining officers and members formed in oblong closely about.
Proclamation was made by Grand Master [Ufford] and after invocation by Grand Chaplain Swift a list of contents of a copper box was read by Grand Secretary Gilbert.
The box was deposited in a hole carved in the foundation corner stone by Grand Treasurer F. M. Leonard. Above the stone was suspended from a tripod a rectangular [stone]. This stone was tried by the Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden and the Junior Grand Warden, and being [found] plum, square and level, was laid by the Grand Master with grand honors.
Corn was scattered and wine and oil poured upon the stone, symbols of plenty, refreshment and gladness, peace and joy, consecrating it to laudable note.
Judge Charles H Brown who is a Past Deputy Grand Master of this District spoke as follows,
Address Delivered by Hon. C. H. Brown
The first attempt to lay out a township for this immediate locality was made by Moses VanCampen, In 1810 when he surveyed from the 100,000 acre Church tract the lands that ultimately in 1830 became the Town of Amity. This village which originally known as Phillipsville and […?] Village of Belmont.
For eighty years the authorities of the town, and for forty years the authorities of the village have had no quarters in which to perform their official duties. The books and papers, the documents and effects of the Town Clerk have been buffeted from place to place, subjected to the hazard of loss and destruction while being left in shops and stores and offices. The justices of the peace have held their court in dwelling houses, in grocery and jewelry stores in hotels and skating rings in county buildings and engine houses. Supervisors in town boards have had their meetings in barns, back rooms, basements and hose houses. Village trustees have assembled for public business wherever it has been convenient for one of their number to furnish a room, a table, a chair, a stall and a gas light. Political caucuses, town meetings and elections have been held in all accessible places, frequently without,, and seldom with adequate accommodations. Ever since the organization of the town, ever since the organization of the village the municipal authorities have been without a home. A consideration of these facts suggests a new meaning of the scriptural assertion; we see a new interpretation, and illumination of the declaration of the Great Apostle. “Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, the son of man has no place wherein to lay his head."
Need of Public Hall was Acute
The necessity of a town and village hall has been very manifest; While such necessity has been acute and has been the subject of thought by the authorities, yet it never has reached the stage of serious consideration by the taxpayers as an organised body. It is doubtful whether the taxpayers would feel warranted in embarking upon an undertaking involving such an expenditure as is indicated by the character of the splendid building so generously bestowed.
The taxpayers have been satisfied with the way and manner in which our town and village officials have performed their duties, and well [may] they have been. Many towns and villages have been scandalized by the exposure of thefts of public monies by proved charges of graft and by malfeasance in office; yet this community has the satisfying assurance that the tax payers money has been carefully, lawfully, honestly, righteously and patriotically administered and disbursed. Not a penny of public monies has been stolen from the taxpayers of this [community]. We all [join in paying a … tribute to … ] integrity, the high-minded, sterling worth of these public officials, who have so faithfully perform their duties and conserved the financial interests of both municipalities. The keen, lively interest taken by the body politic of this community in the selection of clean, capable, honest officials is an assurance that the faithful performance of public duties is promised for the future and it may well be that the donor of this magnificent gift takes great satisfaction from the fact that his liberality is not unworthily bestowed.
A Tribute to the Donor
What a splendid thing it was for Elmore A. Willets to conceive the idea of giving a town and village hall to our people. To be able to make such a gift implies the mere possession of means, But to originate the idea, to develop the program, to have the desire, the wish, the impulse to make such a gift, demonstrates that the finer sentiments of notable nature and the kindly instincts of a generous heart are well rooted and deep seated in the sterling manhood of our distinguished fellow citizen
What a splendid gift it is. Its points of artistic beauty and its lines of architectural perfection will be very a very handsome adornment to our village street; an object lesson, teaching how to make a business building useful and beautiful. The substantial character of its construction, the excellence of its materials, the thorough and high class workmanship Insures for many generations its useful and practical purpose. It will be highly prized by us, our children and those that will come after. It will be so useful and practical of such service to our people that every citizen will take great pleasure and [satisfaction] in its possession. If the real pleasure in giving is the making of others happy, the donor of this beautiful structure must enjoy the maximum of supreme delight, for he has made us very, very happy. It is a gift of such a substantial and valuable character that it evokes the heartfelt gratitude of all our citizens, it makes us proud of our village it will cultivate a high-grade of civic pride and I think I do not exaggerate when I say that we all of us as we have in the [past?] do now and will as long as memory lasts, honor, respect, esteem and be proud of the name it will always bear.
Honor Conferred by Masonic Grand Master
The distinguished honor conferred by the Grand Master of Masons of the State of New York, through his accredited representatives, in laying the corner stone of the Williets Hall, is most highly appreciated by all our people. Seldom is it our good fortune to be so signally favored, rare indeed are the occasions when such an impressive, imposing and interesting ceremony has been performed in our county. To build the foundation corner upon which is to be erected our highly prized municipal building, has been tested and tried by the plumb, square and level of the Free and Accepted Masons, justifies the belief and permits us to indulge in the sentiment that the good, the true and the beautiful, may be exemplified in the completed structure and be the purpose and object of every use to which it may be put.
Coming as it does, from the highest, the purest and most unselfish motives; accepted as it is with sincere, heartfelt, affectionate gratitude; built as it will be of such high class material and workmanship such a handsome and practical possession; such a source of comfort and pleasure, it ought to be an inspiration to every elected and appointed officer who has occasion to do business within its walls, to see to it that every official [met?] is the result of his best.and most honest endeavor; If it is, then the lessons and benefits of this philanthropic provision will be most permanent and enduring.
At [5:30?] PM an informal luncheon was served to the Grand Lodge and visiting brethren at the Belmont. Grandmaster Davison and Grand Marshall Ufford returned East on Erie train [36?]
These Articles were in the Box
The […] copper box deposited in the corner stone by Acting Grand Treasurer, F. M. Leonard of Wellsville, contained the following:
1. Copies of the Belmont Dispatch, containing article on lane of the corner stone, report of Village Treasurer for year ending March 1, 1909, article on County home, Half-tone pictures and article on Town Board, Major Keenan, hero of Chancellorsville and monument to be erected for him, Surrogate’s court matters,, complete list of births, deaths and marriages during 1909, and a comparison of vital statistics for twelve years, Original plans for Village Hall, and a half tone picture of Trianna and other beautiful Allegheny County homes
2. All other county papers
3. New York Sun, New York Herald, New York World, with King Edwards's death and Curtis’ flight from Albany to New York
4. County Court calendar
5. Supreme Court calendar
6. Belmont High School report.
7. Proceedings of Board of Supervisors
8. Map of Village
9. Map of cemetery
10. Bell telephone directory
11. List of Town Clerks in County
12. List of Overseers of Poor in County
13. List of Supervisors in County
14. List of Supt. of Highways in County
15. Collectors in County
16. List of Justices of Peace in County
17. List of Village Officers in County
18. List of Assessors in county
19. Statement of State Bank to June 1, 1910
20. Belmont Literary and Historical Society yearbook for 1909-10
21. Tourist club yearbook for 1909-10
22. 50th anniversary program of […]
. Masonic Call for Laying of Corner Stone.
24. Description of Haley's comment and its orbit.
25. Picture of band
26. Stamps 1 2 4 [5 8 and 10?]
27. Roosevelt button
28. Coins one dollar half dollar quarter dollar dime nickel three Lincoln pennies
29. Photograph of Mr. Elmore A. Willets donor of the building
30. Sketch of life of Mr. Willets and his father Mr. Isaac Willets taken from the Allegany County history