On July 20, 1898, the Eureka Lodge, the African-American branch of the Free and Accepted Masons, led the parade commencing the laying of the Douglass Monument cornerstone. At 3:30 pm, Lodge members left their Durand Building headquarters, marched up Main Street, and down North St Paul St towards the site of ceremonies.The procession was accompanied by the Estella Chapter of the order of the Eastern Star, and headed by the 54th Regiment band.
At the Douglass Monument's Central Avenue and St. Paul Street location, Grand Master E. R. Spaulding broke ground with a silver and ivory-handled trowel, which had been presented to him by Lodge members the night before. The cornerstone was laid at 4 o’clock, with the Honorable John Van Voorhis serving as the keynote speaker of the event.
The Eureka Lodge still considers their role in the laying of the Douglass Monument cornerstone to be one of their chapter's greatest achievements. Their current headquarters are at 616 Brown Street, Rochester, NY, 14614.
This entry is part of a public history project developed by the RIT Museum Studies program in celebration of the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth (February 1818).