Reading Room: Cornerstone, 1903

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 27, 1903, the cornerstone of Foundry's new church at the corner of 16th and Madison (now Church) Streets, Northwest, was laid. Bishop C. H. Fowler who had been scheduled to deliver an address was unable to attend. Dr. H. R. Naylor, presiding elder of the Washington District, read the ritual relative to cornerstone layings.

Bishop Charles C. McCabe was introduced as the principal speaker of the day. He noted that the presence of ministers of other denominations at the service was an indication of the growing spirit toward unification of the churches.

He said in part: "It is a matter of especial gratification to me that the sacred and honored name of 'Foundry' is to be inherited by this new church. The name is associated with some of the most thrilling events in the early history of Methodism, both in England and in this country. When Wesley was a boy at the Charter House School an explosion occurred at the foundry on Windmill Hill, Moorfields, which so damaged the property that the spot was abandoned and the royal arsenal was established at Woolwich. After having been abandoned for a quarter of a century, John Wesley secured the property of the old foundry for his work. . . .

"The Foundry was the headquarters of Methodism and the center of many philanthropic agencies, including the charity school, a dis­pensary, almshouse for nine poor widows, and a loan society. On dark winter nights, over roads without pavement and unlighted by gas or lamps of any kind save the flickering lanterns of the serious and earnest worshippers, might be seen those devout men and women almost groping their way to the daily services at the first Methodist chapel, led by the tinkling of the foundry bell."

At the conclusion of his address, Bishop McCabe consecrated the stone. Then the Grand Lodge, A.F. and A.M., of the District of Colum­bia, took charge of the laying of the stone. Grand Master George H. Walker presided. The gavel was the same one that George Washing­ton used in laying the cornerstone of the Capitol.


This article, originally titled "The Laying of the Cornerstone" is provided and used with permission from Papers of Homer Calkin, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.