April 14, 1906: Cornerstone laid for Superior’s Federal Building

On this day across the bay in 1906, Masons held a ceremony marking the laying of the cornerstone for Superior’s new $300,000 Federal Building at 1401 Tower Avenue. At 2 p.m. the Superior Marine Band led a parade of Masons and dignitaries some 300 strong up Tower Avenue from the Masonic Temple to the building site. After an invocation by a Masonic chaplain, a sealed copper box—a time capsule—was placed inside the cornerstone, which was lowered at precisely 3 p.m. The copper box contained a copy of that day’s Superior newspapers, a copy of Superior’s charter and ordinances, the most-recent reports of the city comptroller and board of education, a city directory, statistics on the city’s “commercial and industrial standing,” and a list of members of both the Superior Commercial Club and all of Superior’s Masons. The building opened in 1908 and served as a courthouse, customs office, Internal Revenue office, home to the U.S. Marshals, and a post office. Thanks to a fund drive, the building’s original $150,000 budget was doubled, and architect Earl Tower spent much of that money on extravagances such as marble, mahogany, solid bronze, and opulent furniture. Read more about historic architecture in Superior here.

Superior’s Federal Building, ca. 1910. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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