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Moving forward.

In our last issue we alluded to a forward movement. This issue is delayed that the progress of the same may be recorded as current Medford history.

The Historical Society has purchased of the city of Medford a somewhat peculiar but eligible site on Governors avenue and begun the building of a permanent home. Work thereon has progressed so far that the foundations are laid, the basement enclosed and floortimbers in place.

On Saturday, September 30, the corner-stone was laid with appropriate exercises. During the weeks the work has been in progress there was but little rain, but on Friday evening the intense heat and drought was terminated by a copious rainfall and a resultant change in weather conditions. But for the contrasting chill and breeze the day was ideal for the occasion, and at four o'clock members and friends in goodly number assembled, filling the improvised seats on the temporary floor, for the beginning of the realization of a cherished hope and fond dream.

It was fitting that the last speaker in the old home should be first in the new, and so Rev. Anson Titus of Somerville gave the invocation:—

God of the nations, Jehovah of old, Thou art the guardian of the generations, Thou preservest the people, thou knowest all they do and desire. Thy presence we invoke in the placing of this stone, which we pray may be set for Thee and the welfare of Thy people; that on this corner may be builded that which will be for the preservation of interests dear to this city. Thou wast with the fathers, we pray Thy presence with the sons. Gather with us, keep near to us, make us to serve and honor Thee ever, evermore. Amen.

[p. 84]

The President then made a brief historical statement, saying that this occasion was the beginning of the twentieth anniversary celebration, of which we trust the ‘housewarming’ will be the finish within this year 1916. The greetings of the city were briefly and ably spoken by His Honor, Mayor Haines. Former Presidents Will C. Eddy and Henry Edwards Scott gave expression of their satisfaction that at last the Society was to have an attractive and convenient home. Their remarks were followed by the poem written for the occasion by a member (who modestly wished his name withheld), and read by Miss Alice E. Curtis.

Beside the banks of Mystic stream,
The scene of Winthrop's toil and dream;
And Cradock's pride in power of State,
And Royall's house of beauty great;
A home of modern day we raise
With grateful thought of earlier days.

Could Winthrop stand upon this spot
Well might he say ‘I know it not,’
And Royall from the stately home,
Whose acres broad he loved to roam,
Would gaze with a bewildered look,
Back to the mansion he forsook.

And are we in Old Medford still,
Woods, streams and pastures, vale and hill
All changed in form by modern hand?
Our forebears could not know this land.
We miss the forms by Nature lent,
We bow to change by centuries sent.

Changed though the land, by Nature given,
Old Medford's spirit works its leaven,
And memory clings to days of old,
With reverent thought their good we hold,
Though changed be wood, and field and hill,
To us it is Old Medford still.

How best to show the love we bear
And others lead, our work to share,
To safely guard through fleeting time,
The treasures that deserve a shrine,
This building to such work we give,
Historic Medford long shall live.

—C. H. L. [p. 85]

The congratulations of neighboring societies were extended in felicitous addresses by Hon. James Parker Parmenter, President, of Arlington; Charles Edward Mann of Maiden; and in absence of President Carpenter, by Albert L. Haskell of Somerville. The President then read a list of the contents of the copper box to be deposited beneath the stone:—

First and latest issue of the Register.

Latest issue of Mercury, Messenger and Review.

Boston Transcript, September 29.

Medford City Manual, 1916.

Historic Festival—On the Banks of the Mystic.

List of members at present date, September, 1916.

List of Presidents of the Society.

Poem written for the occasion.

Sermon and address at 250th Anniversary of the First Church in Medford.

Medford High School Review, June, 1916.

Course of Study in Medford High School.

Directory of Teachers in Medford High School, 1916-17.

Photograph of old City Hall.

Print of new City Hall.

Banquet Program, 275th Anniversary, June 15, 1905.

Commemoration Exercises, June 15, 1905.

Dedication Program enlarged High School, November 20, 1914.

Catalogue of Loan Collection at Royall House, October 12 to 20, 1896.

The Parada given by the Medford Historical Society, 1903.

Annual Announcements of Medford Historical Society.

Lincoln Centenary, February 12, 1909.

Book Plate of Society (impression).

Guide to tablets marking historic sites, 1905.

Indian arrowhead, found on High street near Train estate.

Cheese, cracker and rum with certificate.

Medford Granite, Medford Red Gravel, wild flowers and sumac leaves from lot.

Card of Inspector of Buildings. Some merriment was indulged in as those typical of ‘Old Medford’ were named.

The stone was donated by the West Medford Real Estate Trust, which purchased the grounds and mansion erected by Hon. Peter C. Brooks in the years 1802-6. [p. 86] This is now gone, and the stone is that of the front entrance porch and carriage drive, and now, after a century's use, is of historic interest, and bears the incised date of its new use, 1916, on its circular front.

Prayer was next offered by Rev. Dr. Frederick A. Leitch of Trinity Church (Methodist Episcopal)

O God our help in ages past
     Our hope for years to come
Our shelter from the stormy blast
     And our eternal home.

As needy as any that have passed before us in the journey of life we lift our hearts unto Thee our Heavenly Father, the Creator, Redeemer and Saviour of mankind. Hear, we beseech Thee, our humble prayer, and inspire our hearts to keep Thy law. We pray Thy blessing upon this gathering. Bless this enterprise. Bless the officers, the members and friends of the Medford Historical Society. We are met to lay the corner-stone of this building. We are reminded of the passing years. We build to preserve that which other hands and hearts have cherished and loved. Some day other hands and hearts will gather to preserve from the ravages of time that which we hold precious, that through which we pass our lives. May we learn wisdom from what this hour suggests. Help us in the building of our lives to build upon the imperishable. May the corner-stone of our characters be built upon the Rock of Ages, may it be plumbed and squared with the principles of truth and righteousness and laid in the cement of eternal love. Impress upon our minds the truth.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
     And all that beauty, all that wealth, e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour.
     The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

May Thy blessing rest upon the city of Medford and its inhabitants. Bless the chief executive the mayor, and those who hold offices of trust. May each use his office for the welfare of the municipality and feel that trust is of God for the welfare of the people. Bless the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the governor of the state. Bless and endue with wisdom the legislators and administrators of law. May righteous laws and sound discretion preserve us from calamity. Help us to learn that ‘Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord and blessed is the nation that maketh God their trust.’ Hear us, O God, our Maker. Pardon our sins, bring us at last unto Thyself.

All of which we ask in the name and grace of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

[p. 87]

The company then repaired to its site, and after depositing the box in the concrete base the stone was placed in position by the President, assisted by workman Kelley. Symbolical of the varied talents which are brought into the work of the Society, the mortar used in its setting was of a composite character. Water having been taken from the city supply, the reservoir on College hill, Mystic lake and Spot pond, was mixed with salt water from the river and the soft rain water that fell on the previous evening. This was used in tempering, and finally poured upon the stone by our Secretary, who also provided the beautiful wreath of salvia and bouquet of wild flowers that lay upon it. The President applied the plumb and level, and finding it correct, with a hammer struck three blows, declaring it well, truly and safely laid, adding,

May the Giver of all good

The heads that plan endue with skill,
The hands that work preserve from ill,
That we who these foundations lay
May bring the capstone in its day.

Two verses of ‘America’ were then sung, with cornet accompaniment by Mr. George Weston, and the benediction pronounced by Rev. George M. Butler of the Mystic Church.

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