Iowa Freemasonry is a personal journal of a Freemason in central Iowa. This blog documents my Masonic research interests, experiences, and reflections. Welcome!

Friday, July 29, 2011

George Washington's Tomb

I have spent the past week living and studying at Mount Vernon with Dr. Gordon Wood, the preeminent scholar of Washington and the Revolutionary era. Twenty teachers were selected to participate in this seminar and I feel fortunate to have been one of them. Dr. Wood is an incredible teacher and has answered every question, no matter how naive, although no one asked him about the bar scene in Good Will Hunting in which his name comes up!

Today was our last day at Mount Vernon. Dr. Wood started us off with another incredible session. We also had tours of the gardens and the Mansion. Just before dinner, we participated in laying the wreath at Washington's tomb. If you can't see the pictures below, click on this link to go to the pics at Picasa.

The tour of the Mansion was incredible, by the way. We spent over an hour in the building including a trip up to the cupola!

Anyway, enjoy the pics!

Mount Vernon Gardens Tour

Here are a few pictures from our garden tour this morning. Use this link if you can't see the slide show.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Washington's Mill and Distillery

Today we toured George Washington's Mill and Distillery just down the road from Mount Vernon. Not only was Washington a Freemason, but he was also the owner of the largest distillery at that time in colonial America. In 1799, the year of his death, his distillery produced almost 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey. There are no records of any other distillery of that size in 1799.

A few pictures of our tour are below in a slide show, or click here to go to the album at Picasa.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dr. Gordon Wood, Brown University



Dr. Wood is a professor at Brown University and a Pulitzer prize winning author of a book on the American Revolution. He is the featured lecturer this week for our seminar at Mount Vernon. Stephen Bullock, author of Revolutionary Brotherhood, was his student.

Mount Vernon: tomb, gardens, and sheep on the loose


Here are pictures from this morning's stroll around the estate. I visited both tombs, the gardens, and even saw some sheep enjoying breakfast on the back lawn of the Mansion.

Click HERE to go to the pictures.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mount Vernon at sunrise before the crowds arrive



Here are a few pictures from my walk around the estate this morning.

If you can't see the pictures in the embedded slide show, click here to go to the pics.

Sunrise from the back porch of the mansion at Mount Vernon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Picture Slideshow from George Washington National Masonic Memorial visit 24 July 2011



If you can't see the slide show, click here to go to the pics on Picasa.

My room at Mount Vernon for this week

I'd sit on the left!

THE Chair...

From the observation deck

GW Masonic Memorial

Fourth floor at the Memorial

At the George Washington Masonic Memorial

Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA



Masonic dues may not have increased much over time, but the price of breakfast sure has!

This is a picture of Gadsby's Tavern in Alexandria, VA. George Washington often ate here and today Gadsby's still serves breakfast lunch and dinner...if you can afford it. I settled for a picture of the sign and my bike; I'll save my money for the gift shop at the Masonic Memorial.

George Washington National Masonic Memorial



Pictures are definitely worth a thousand words in this case. Even if he had 200 minutes, Lincoln couldn't do justice to describing how Freemasons must feel when they first see this memorial.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gettysburg National Cemetery



This is the site of Lincoln's famous Gettysburg address. I was fortunate enough to spend some time today at the Battleground's Park and the Cemetery. This was my first visit to Gettysburg and I was surprised at the size of the Park. The suggested automobile tour takes over 3 hours. I planned to ride my bike, but given the weather there this afternoon I stayed in the car. The National Cemetery, however, is accessible only by foot.

I was reminded of something about Lincoln's famous speech that I had forgotten: he spoke for just about 2 minutes. Two minutes! We should learn many things from President Lincoln and one of them should be that simple fact!

I wonder if we should introduce a "Lincoln Rule" in our Stated Meetings: no one can speak for more than two minutes, total, during a meeting. That is, unless they can do a better job than Lincoln did at Gettysburg.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Seminar at Mount Vernon


I'm off to D.C. this morning for a Gilder Lehrman seminar at Mount Vernon. The seminar is held at Washington's estate and focuses on Washington and the political/social events of his time. Twenty teachers will participate and we'll actually stay at the Estate.

I'm driving so that I'll have flexibility to see some sights. On the way, I plan to stop at Gettysburg. Other Masonic sightseeing plans include the George Washington Masonic Memorial, The House of the Temple, and a museum in Alexandria with a special exhibit on Washington including the bible on which he took his Presidential oath.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

3rd Annual BBQ at Operative Lodge #308 in Polk City, Iowa


Polk City's Operative Lodge #308 hosted their Third Annual BBQ on Saturday, July 16. Honored guests included Past Grandmaster Jack Butler and Stacy Layton. Even though temperatures approached 95 degrees, a good time was had by all. Operative Lodge Senior Deacon Keith Gordon prepared the ribs and Worshipful Master Lane Shaver cooked the pork chops. After supper, the central Iowa band Monkey Monkey Monkey entertained the crowd.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Za-Ga-Zig Shriners at Gowrie Fourth of July Parade

Haywood- Studies in Blue Lodge Symbolism

Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library distributed this link to a May 1919 article by Harry Haywood in The Builder. Click on the title of this post to go to their site and read Haywood's short article.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haywood marker in Cedar Rapids Cedar Memorial Cemetery

Harry Haywood's grave site in Cedar Rapids

Let There Be Light- Harry Haywood


I'm in Cedar Rapids this weekend for my nephew's wedding and I had some free time so I thought I would write a quick note about Harry Haywood. Haywood Is the author of one of my favorite Masonic books, The Great Teachings of Masonry. He has written many books including several on the Iowa Masonic Library's list of recommended books for new Masons. His writing style is easy to follow and understand, something not always true of Masonic scholars!

Haywood died in 1956 and is buried in the Masonic section of the Cedar Rapids Cedar Memorial Cemetery. Be careful though if you look him up in Wikipedia: he wasn't born in Omaha nor was he a communist!

Sent from my iPad