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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Knock, knock, knock

White bronze tombstones were quite popular around the turn of the twentieth century. These stones were actually sand cast zinc, not bronze, but the white bronze label stuck. The “stones” are hollow and easily identified, either by color or by simply knocking on them: you’ll hear a metallic, hollow sound.

Most of these markers have a plate which can be removed with a screwdriver to reveal their hollow interior; there are anecdotal reports that bootleggers used these hollow markers as a drop. The customer would leave cash inside the stone and the bootlegger would visit, in the middle of the night of course, and leave the booze.

I ran across a white bronze tombstone in the Polk City Cemetery. The tombstone marks the grave of G.E. Merrill, a Past Master of Operative Lodge #308 in Polk City. I didn’t check inside, but I did knock, more than once.

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