Arago: 1/2-cent Olive Brown

1/2-cent Olive Brown

Washington Bicentennial first day cover

Scott Catalogue USA: 704-715, U525

This George Washington Masonic Memorial dedication cover consists of a 2-cent, carmine, die 1, stamped envelope from the Washington Bicentennial Issue of 1931 (Scott U525). In addition, it is franked by a complete set of Washington Bicentennial stamps of 1932 (Scott 704-715). Plate numbers appear on both the 2-cent (Scott 707) and the 5-cent (Scott 710) stamps. The cover bears a single machine cancel and four hand-stamped cancels, all reading, "Alexandria, Virginia, Temple Station, May 12, 1932, 7 a.m.," Washington's birthday and the Masonic Memorial's dedication date. The cover also bears a hand-applied cachet in blue depicting a left corner view of the memorial.

Located in Alexandria, Virginia, on Shuter's Hill (the site of Civil War-era Fort Ellsworth), the George Washington Masonic Memorial was built in the manner of the Alexandria, Egypt, lighthouse, the tower capped by an Egyptian pyramid and a flame-like finial. Thomas Jefferson once suggested the site as the perfect location for the nation's Capitol.

Huge crowds, including President Herbert Hoover, attended the week-long George Washington Masonic Memorial dedication ceremony and Masonic celebration. On May 12, twenty-one guns from an army battery and five naval vessels anchored in Alexandria's harbor saluted the president's arrival. The secretary of the navy ordered the frigate Constitution - "Old Ironsides" — to Alexandria for the week. Officials calling the ceremony to order used the gavel that officials used at the laying of the cornerstone of the United States Capitol. They also used the Bible on which George Washington took his oath of office as president.

May 12, 1932
paper; ink ( ) /
Height x Width: 4 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (10.8 x 24.13 cm)
Museum ID:

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