A Wild Tale

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Jared Hargrave, 32° K.C.C.H.

Editors Note : On Sunday, November 13, the Evangelistic Center Church in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, caught fire and nearly burned to the ground. The building, a total loss, was the original Kansas City Scottish Rite Temple. Jared Hargrave, 32° KCCH, editor of the Kansas City Valley's "Rite Start," gives this first-hand update on the disaster and the silver lining in its cloud.

This last week has been the most eventful and wonderful ones I have ever had in Freemasonry! Right now is a very exciting time for our wonderful institution. Specifically, our Valley and our Illustrious Personal Rep have been in the forefront of news in Kansas City. 

As I related, last week, our predecessors built a magnificent temple, located at what is now Truman road and Troost, right on the outskirts of downtown Kansas City. The members who walked through these doors are staggering. Everyone from the founders of Kansas City to the political and businees leaders and the every day working men of the city.

On November 13, our first home was destroyed in a massive fire. News crews from across the country showed up to capture the horrific fire that left one of the oldest churches in Kansas City homeless. The cornerstone of this church was laid in 1903. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to stop and see the church, our original home. I have been in the church a few times over the years, knowing it was our fraternity that built it. The salvage crews were so kind to stop and talk during their break time. They were fine gentlemen, one of whom will receiving the degrees that we offer. They shared, with me, teir personal connections with the tragedy they were cleaning up. It was a very sad experience to see that rubble, knowing some of the colorful history of the building.

Demolition and salvage of the church.
However, like the pheonix that rises from the ashes of disaster, salvage workers uncovered a hidden treasure. New life has been breathed in to our loving home! Illustrious brother Ben Kenney, Personal Representative, was contacted concerning an item they found. The cornerstone, laid in 1903, withstood the intense heat. Inside the cornerstone was a time capsule. What is contained in it? We have no idea.

Cornerstone, as it sits at the temple.
Brother Ben, once again, presented the public with a warm and welcoming message. Not only are we immensly excited, the public is being included in the events! Both local and national news media are showing the face of Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite, and Kansas City. 

As we, as Freemasons, know, our Fraternity is deeply rooted in some cities. Kansas City is no exception. Between people like Ethelbert Allen, Colenel Abernathy, Harry Allen, William Thayer, and countless other freemasons, Kansas City would not be the wonderful town it is today.

All of these men, in addition to our 33rd president ( Harry S. Truman ) and Kansas City famed banking family, the Kempers, have passed through the doors of this magnificent building. Their spirits will be present with us on January 25, when the time capsule will be opened for our brethern. What will this time capsule tell us about the men, mentioned above? What can they tell us about their lessons? What happened during the 1903 flood? The only thing we can see in the capsule is a book, no doubt bound and printed in Kansas City, is a book about the 1903 flood.

Time capsule as it sits in our vault.

Illustrious Brother Ben Kenney related to me, today, that we will be hosting a public opening ceremony. On January 25, 2017, this time capsule will be revealed. Please mark your calendars. Our regular business meeting for January will be a public event. Invitations have been extended to both Masonic and public leadership, news media, and governmental officials. The opening ceremony will be planned for 6:00 PM, prior to our dinner meeting.

Further details, as well as a personal recollection of events from Illustrious Brother Ben, will be presented in next week's Rite Start. Please watch closely for the announcements.

Please, also, see these links for the interviews and media coverage on this tragedy and amazing discovery.

Illustrious Brother Ben's Interviews:

Jared Hargrave, 32° K.C.C.H. is Editor Kansas City "Rite Start" - Valley of Kansas City

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