BECKLEY, W.Va. — The last time a Masonic cornerstone was laid on a public building in Beckley was 1963.
On a chilly Saturday afternoon, area officials, locals and members of Mason Lodge 95 gathered at the site of the new Beckley Police Department’s headquarters for the historic event. Mason members explained during the ceremony they only perform this honor on public buildings, schools and Masonic buildings.
A ceremonial casket was placed inside of the stone. It was filled with items that showcase Beckley, similar to a time capsule. Unlike a time capsule which is opened on a set date, caskets are not opened until the building is demolished.
Items inside of the casket include recent front pages of The Register Herald, a City of Beckley logo, Beckley Police badge and roster, WVU Tech brochures, local business cards, a state quarter featuring the New River Gorge Bridge and another quarter depicting Harper’s Ferry.
— Mike McCullough (@MikeMcC_Metro) March 10, 2018
Beckley Deputy Chief of Police Jake Corey said it was an honor to have the Masons at the site for the ceremony. He added everyone is excited for the arrival of the new headquarters.
“We couldn’t be happier with our contractors and our workers. Everything is moving very quickly. Our officers are excited, I’m personally excited. The police department in history has never has a full-fledged police department. We’ve always taken over another building and had to turn it into something.”
Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold agreed, adding they expect to hit their targeted completion date.
“It’s coming along really well and we’ve had some real challenges with the weather between snow and frigid temperatures but I think we’re well on schedule to meet our early fall 2018 deadline.”
The current police headquarters, located along Prince Street, has housed the department for around 40 years. The building has several maintenance issues including roof leakage and structural problems. It has also become too small for the department’s needs.
Plans call for a two-story building with funding coming from the Beckley Building Commission’s Lease Revenue Bonds. As of Saturday, the foundation of the structure was complete as well as two stairwell shafts.
“Even though it’s dreary and cold and a little bit snowy and rainy, to me it’s blue skies and 65 or 70 degrees today,” said Mayor Rappold. “Just wonderful.”