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The Granite Pyramid at Bow, New Hampshire - Its History

An excerpt from "Christian Science After 1910", by Andrew W. Hartsook, pages 25, 26, 27 and 28:

The Concord Evening Monitor of December 24, 1918, contained an interesting article regarding the project of a lone Christian Scientist.

"On the old Mark Baker farm at Bow, New Hampshire, now owned by James F. Lord, of Boston and near the site of the ancient house in which Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church, was born in 1821, has just been completed a unique monument in the form of a great pyramid-shaped monolith. It is cut from one of the largest pieces of granite ever quarried and handled. The block, taken from the quarries of the New England Granite Works at North Concord, weighed in the rough over one hundred tons and was over eleven feet square. This block was first moved about seventy-five feet from where it was quarried, to a convenient place for rough cutting, where thirty or forty tons of surplus stone were removed, and the work was then started of shaping it true to the exact dimensions. When placed upon its concrete foundation of the bow plateau overlooking the Merrimack valley, it will measure seven feet, nine and one-eighths inches (7'91/8") in height, including its granite base, the actual dimensions of the pyramid are: base, 10' 10-9/16" square; height, 6' 11-1/8" angle 51 degrees, 51 minutes, 14.3 seconds. It is placed in exact orientation.

"Upon each of the four sides will be a tablet made of Benedict nickel which is the only bronze alloy known which will not corrode or tarnish with the weather. These tablets are very beautifully executed after a classical design and are as follows: On the south side:

MARY BAKER EDDY
Discoverer of Christian Science
The Baker Homestead
"Around the memory thereof clusters
the golden days of my childhood."
Mary Baker Eddy

"This quotation is reproduced in facsimile from a letter in regard to her girlhood, written by Mrs. Eddy to relatives. "On the eastern side is the following quotation, it being the sixteenth verse of the twenty-eighth chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah:

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a
foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure
foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste."
Isaiah

"On the north side is the following from Mrs. Eddy's writing: "No and Yes", page 38:

This Truth is the rock which the builders rejected; but "the same
is become the head of the corner." This is the chief corner-stone,
the basis and support of creation, the interpreter of one God, the
infinity and unity of good.
Mary Baker Eddy

"On the west, the tablet bears the following:

Novus Ordo Seclorum

"This fourth tablet containing the Latin motto, "Novos Ordo Seclorum" meaning "the New Order of the Ages," is an intentionally altered quotation from Virgil's rendition of the Sibylline books in a connection with the prophecy of the return of the virgin. It is the same motto which appears on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States beneath the representation of the Great Pyramid with its cap stone including the symbolic all-seeing eye suspended "in glory" above it.

"It is said that the form of a pyramid was chosen for the monument as being considered eminently appropriate as a symbol of Science. the Angles of this monument are identical with those of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. In fact, this great granite monolith constitutes a perfect cap stone for that marvelous architectural triumph of antiquity to which Mrs. Eddy herself refers in her writings as the "miracle in stone," and is one-seventh the size of the original.

"It is said by Christian Scientists that the essence of Mrs. Eddy's discovery is that Principle is God and that therefore Christianity correctly understood must be demonstrable as Science. However, they admit that as yet its Science is but faintly discerned and that few of Mrs. Eddy's adherents, have as she herself has pointed out, grasped the deeper significance of her discovery in this relation to the larger problems of existence.

"The pyramid at Bow, like the Great Pyramid of Egypt, constitutes in its exact dimension, a perfect demonstration in matter of the problem of the quadrature of the circle, a problem which has been uppermost in the thought of the mathematicians since the days of Archimedes. The Astronomer royal of Scotland, Professor Piazzi Smyth, has been the foremost writer on the subject. His Book, "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid," based upon his discoveries in 1866, has gone through several editions. This search for the solution of the problem of "squaring the circle" has resulted in the admission by all mathematicians that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is incommensurable -- the mathematical symbol of infinity...

"In its demonstration of the squaring of the circle, the pyramid is said to symbolize the momentous fact that the spiritual and that which has been called the temporal are one when the illusion of the senses is swept away and God's eternal completeness is revealed. "The monument was taken from North Concord to Bow Junction on a railroad car although its size and dimensions exceeded the capacity of an ordinary car. From there special equipment was perfected to convey it to Bow Hill. A hoisting engine mounted upon heavy wagon was anchored in the road and with 200 feet and gradually the load was taken to its destination. Bridges over which it passed were specially strengthened to bear the unusual burden. It required about three weeks to transport it from the railroad siding to its foundation, a distance of about two miles. Elbert S. Barlow of Boston, who also erected the Memorial to Mrs. Eddy in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, was the general contractor for this work."

A dedication ceremony was planned for July 16, 1921, -- the one hundreth anniversary of Mrs. Eddy's birth. "On July 7, 1921, the Board of Directors issued a letter "To All Christian Scientists" cautioning them to "beware of personal propaganda attached to that date (July 16, 1921)" saying "We should not centre our thoughts on pyramids or on personal history...or that her life began at a certain spot on earth or at a certain point in time.'"30

The City of Concord held an impressive ceremony with Scripture reading and an oration by ex-Governor McCall, the "Concord Evening Patriot" of July 16th featured the headline, "Centenary Excercies of Birth of Mary Baker Eddy." A wire was sent from The Mother Church in Boston requesting a "corrective" statement which referred to the ceremony as "mistaken zeal."

However, the cornerstones of First Church, Concord, and the Extension were laid on July 16,1903, and July 16,1904, respectively. In addition, Mrs. Eddy's dedicatory address at the Concord church was delivered on July 17, 1904. All the dates of these earlier events had been chosen by Mrs. Eddy.

Mr. Lord gave the property with the capstone to The Mother Church on May 18, 1927, according to the June 11, 1927 Sentinel. The monument was never included in the list of historic sites routinely listed in the Journal.

It is also apparently during the years 1917 and 1918 that Mrs. Eddy's beloved Pleasant View was torn down. Accounts of this event have been difficult to track down. However, the evidence from the time clearly showed that Mrs. Eddy considered her home to be Pleasant View with its symbolic pond, the beautifully kept grounds, and her birthplace visible across the hills. She referred to the house at Chestnut Hill as "splendid misery." If an historic site was to be maintained for posterity, it is not clear why the Board of Directors chose Chestnut Hill rather than Pleasant View."

Excerpt from Andrew W. Hartsook's book, "Christian Science After 1910", which may be obtained at The Bookmark. Enter Mr. Hartsook's name in the search engine at http://www.thebookmark.com/main.html


The Granite Pyramid as symbol of an eternal idea

An excerpt from Andrew W. Hartsook's book, "Christian Science After 1910" from pages 116-117:

"In 1962, the Board of Directors voted to demolish the pyramid marker at the site of Mary Baker Eddy's birth in Bow, New Hampshire. After Mrs. Eddy's passing, James F Lord had acquired the property of the old Baker homestead. The house had burned to the ground some years before, and it had grown up with weeds. He improved the site, erected the monument, and donated the property to The Mother Church in 1927. His efforts had never been viewed with favor by the Directors, and the monument was never included in notices of historic sites occasionally listed in the Journal. A photograph, however, was included in the book, "Landmarks from Bow to Boston." The precisely carved granite was the largest single piece ever quarried in New Hampshire, and despite its official lack of approval, it attracted many visitors over the years since its dedication on the centennial of Mrs. Eddy's birth of July 16, 1921.

Workmen at the site had prepared to blast the monument with dynamite as instructed by the Directors. At the last minute, L. Ivimy Gwalter, a memeber of the Board who did not want it destroyed, persuaded her fellow Directors to postpone the destruciton , and word was immediately sent to New Hampshire. But the message arrived too late, and the destructive deed was done. The fragments were buried somewhere to prevent souvenir seekiers from getting any of the pieces.

This was in keeping with the Directors' policy established with the destruction of Mrs. Eddy's home at Pleasant View when every fragment of the house was taken away and secretly buried to thwart those who wanted some tangible rembmembrance.

The rumor spread that the Directors waited until the death of Mr. Lord, the donor of the property, before ordering the destruciton of the pyramid marker, but this could not be confirmed through research. When asked why the marker was destroyed, one of the Directors reportedly said that people were writing on it."

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We know there is no birth in matter, yet our Leader executed several important actions on July 16th, the date of her appearance on this planet. I feel this was a wonderful tribute to Mrs. Eddy, this giant granite pyramid, and remarkably meaningful. How comforting to realize that as an idea, this gift from James F. Lord and the beauty of it, all the good it represents is eternal. Lovingly, RV


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