Arundel Selectmen Phil Labbe and Tom Danylik, Donna der Kinderen of the Arundel Historical Society, Selectmen Velma Jones Hayes and Dan Dubois, Grand Lodge of Maine Grand Master Edward Nadeau and Dan Fink of York Lodge #22 pause for a photo behind the time capsule cornerstone at the Arundel Municipal Building on Tuesday, June 29. The masons dedicated the cornerstone that day, after a postponement from the fall due to the pandemic. Tammy Wells Photo

ARUNDEL – Fifty years from now, when a time capsule on the grounds of the Arundel Municipal Building is opened, viewers will get a glimpse of 2020, and of the years before.

The time capsule was buried in 2020, and was supposed to have been dedicated that fall. But as COVID-19 was very much still in the mix, a decision to wait was made. And so, on Tuesday, June 29, under hot, sunny skies, Maine’s Grand Lodge of Masons, who had organized the time capsule project – an after-the-fact cornerstone for the new municipal building – did just that, as town officials and others looked on.

Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Maine Ben Weisner applies a level to the cornerstone time capsule outside Arundel Municipal Building during dedication ceremonies June 29. Tammy Wells Photo

Selectwoman Velma Jones Hayes said Dan Fink of York Lodge 22 in Kennebunk organized the project and the Arundel Historical Society, town officials and others searched out items to tuck inside the capsule.

“Traditionally masons place cornerstones of many buildings,” Fink said, citing historical examples like the Capitol building, White House and at the Washington Monument. President George Washington, himself a mason, along with representatives of lodges from Maryland and Virginia laid the cornerstone for the Capitol on Sept, 18, 1783, according to historical accounts.

Fink said a few years ago, as he learned about the Arundel’s plans for a new municipal building, which opened in October, he began to think about the possibilities.

“I thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could do a cornerstone laying,” he said. And so, the project began.


“We’re very grateful to the masons for doing this,” said Town Manager Keith Trefethen. “Dan spurred it on and it provided an opportunity of us to provide the history. Hopefully others who open it in 50 years will add to it, for the next 50.”

Masons from the Grand Lodge of Maine line up in preparation for the dedication of the time capsule cornerstone at Arundel Municipal Building on Tuesday, June 29. The capsule is set to be open in 2070. Tammy Wells Photo

Those who open the time capsule – a 12 x 12 x 8-inch stainless steel box, which was placed inside a polystyrene container and set in place using  500 pounds of concrete, will see two books produced by the Arundel Historical Society, a veterans’ honor roll, photos of the old town hall and the Arundel Fire Station, and the new municipal building. They’ll see news articles current to the period, event posters of past historical society events, and more – including a Republic of Arundel T-shirt, so popular in the 1970s, and produced after the historical society managed to unearth an old one to use as an example, said Donna der Kinderen of the society.

They’ll see a letter from selectman Velma Jones Hayes, who chaired the board in 2020.

“I would like to tell you about the year 2020, the year this beautiful new town hall was built and dedicated,” wrote Hayes to those who would open the capsule in October, 2070. “But that would probably be the only good thing to come out of the year. 2020 was the year of wearing covid masks, sanitizing your hands and home, fear of everything and everybody.”

But she noted, the town continued to operate, meetings were held online, and business inside the municipal building was conducted from behind plastic partitions.

And even though COVID left its mark upon the community, there were still things to look on with pride, like the solar array on the grounds of the municipal building that produces 100 percent of the electricity needed to run it, with extra going to other town facilities, she said.

This cornerstone and the time capsule below was set to be dedicated in October 2020, but the pandemic pushed the ceremony to June 29. Tammy Wells Photo

The Grand Lodge of Masons of Maine then dedicated the cornerstone in a ceremony, which included members solemnly checking the stone with instruments to determine if it was indeed square, level and plumb.

“I now pronounce this cornerstone properly laid,” said Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Maine Richard Nadeau. “It has been a very special honor for us. We wish you abundant blessings as you serve your community.”

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