Cornerstone Laying

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Text on Button CORNERSTONE LAYING NOV. 3, 1929
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Tan background with dark blue border. An image of a building is in the center with three circular portraits of men below it. Black text curls around top edge of button above the building.

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A cornerstone is traditionally the first stone laid for the building’s structure, and it reminds people of the geographical location of the building. Cornerstones became a symbol of a new era by indicating prosperity and opportunity. Their pieces became collected from the historical interest of marking previously standing buildings. The cornerstone laying is often known as a ceremonial event rather than the first step of the construction process. During the ceremony, the cornerstone is laid with a ceremonial trowel by a well-known member of the institution or a local celebrity.

This building appears to be the early architectural design of the Pontifical College Josephinum, with its cornerstone laid in Worthington, Ohio 1929, a week before stock markets crashed bringing the sign of the Great Depression. The Josephinum was originally a German school for priests focusing on serving Catholic immigrant families. But as the demand for German-speaking priests declined, the Josephinum shifted its attention to prepare men for Church services within the United States and around the world. The portrait in the middle appears to be a photo of Monsignor Joseph Jessing, who is the founder of the Josephinum. The other two portraits are unknown at this time.

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NewStudio. (2019). Architectural cornerstones: The meaning, history, and intent.

Ohio Memory. (2016). Cornerstone laying ceremonies and the buildings that shape us.

Pontifical College Josephinum. (n.d.). Mission and history. Retrieved June 3, 2021, from

Catalog ID EV0931