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Cornerstone layed at new Hancock Masonic lodge

May 13, 2000

HANCOCK - Members of the James W. Bowers Lodge 173, the Masonic lodge in Hancock, celebrated the opening of their new building Saturday with a cornerstone laying ceremony.

"This was a very big day for us," said Jeffe Mills, a past master at the lodge. "We haven't had our own building since 1988."

In 1988, the lodge sold its Main Street building and began meeting at a Hancock community center.

Work on the new building began in April 1999 and was finished that September, said R. Francis Shives, secretary at the Hancock lodge.

The new building was mostly built by lodge members and members of other area lodges, he said.

The Masons began meeting in the new one-story brick building in September. The original opening ceremonies were postponed after the death of the former head of the lodge, Warren Peck, Shives said.

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Local officials including Washington County Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy attended Saturday's ceremony.

The James W. Bowers Lodge 173 was founded in 1876.

-Dan Kulin

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