2015 WM David Vonderhaar holding one of the Limited Edition George Washington Gavel replicas presented to Lebanon Lodge #26 by Potomac Lodge #5.

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George Washington's Gavel


Was at Lebanon Lodge 26 for our reconsecration during our 200th Bicentennial on March 21st, 2015. An open house was held  that day.

The head of the Washington Gavel is made of the same Maryland marble used in the interior of the Capitol, and it's handle is crafted of a dark, native American cherry of unique grain. It was made specially for this purpose by one John Duffy, who also made the other Masonic tools used that day. John Duffy was a silversmith by trade, and was married to a daughter of President Washington's gardener; he is also reputed to be a member of the President's mother Lodge, Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 of Virginia.







The ceremonies of the day were carried out with great care and solemnity, and were well attended both by Masonic and civic leaders. Newspaper accounts of the event recall a grand procession from the north shore of the Potomac River in what is now Georgetown to the site of the Capitol, with spectators cheering every step of the way. Although the Capitol was at the time a simple hole in the ground in the middle of a forest, the dignity afforded to its cornerstone spoke volumes about the hope that it represented. To wit, President Washington's closing prayer follows:

"Certainly my dear brethren, it must be as grateful to you as it is to me, to possess the great pleasure of laying this corner stone, which we hope, expect and sincerely pray to produce innumerable corner stones; and that on every one of them, may spring immense edifices. We fervently pray to the Great Grand Master of Heaven, earth and all things, of his infinite wisdom, strength, goodness and mercy, to grant. So may it be."​

The inscription reads:

"This Gavel was prepared for Bro. George Washington for the purpose of laying the Corner Stone of the U.S. Capitol and was so used by him September 18, 1793. He then presented it to Potomac Lodge No. 9 of Maryland, afterward Potomac Lodge No. 43 and now Potomac Lodge No. 5 of the Grand Lodge of the D.C., by whose Order of 1840 this Inscription is placed upon it. 1856"

The historic George Washington Gavel was among the Masonic implements used by Worshipful Brother George Washington when he performed the ceremonial cornerstone laying for the United States Capitol building on September 18, 1793 as Worshipful Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 of Virginia. Also participating in the ceremony were Lodge No. 9 of Maryland (now Potomac Lodge No. 5) and Lodge No. 15 of Maryland (now Federal Lodge No. 1, F.A.A.M., of DC).

One of the most visible aspects of the Masonic fraternity is its long tradition of ceremonially laying the cornerstones of many public and private buildings. This tradition contains great meaning for Masons, and ties the fraternity closely to many cities around the country, including Washington, DC.

This painting depicts George Washington using his ceremonial gavel to lay the cornerstone for the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on September 18, 1793.

George Washington's Gavel