CORUNNA — Saturday, members of Owosso Masonic Lodge 81 paid homage to the founder of the Corunna Lodge, Hugh McCurdy, by donating a variety of historical items and $2,000 to the city of Corunna to help pay for this year’s Fourth of July fireworks display.
Hugh McCurdy founded Corunna Masonic Lodge 115 in 1851. As a way of honoring the former grand master, the Owosso Masons donated the funds, as well as a jewel and logbook signed by McCurdy to the Corunna Historical Village of Shiawassee County.
The dedication took place in the log cabin museum of the Webster Davis-Kribs House in the historical village.
Corunna Masonic Lodge 115 folded into the Owosso lodge in May 1974. Today, there are approximately 122 members of the Owosso Lodge.
Owosso Masonic Lodge officers and Corunna city officials gathered to honor McCurdy for his service to the Masons and to Corunna.
“In 1899, Brother McCurdy and his wife, Emma, gave this land to the city of Corunna to serve as a park so that generation after generation could experience the natural beauty of the place we call home,” Harry Fureigh, junior deacon of the Owosso Masons said in a prepared speech. “Brother McCurdy did many wonderful and amazing things. His travels took him far and wide across our great state and nation, but his heart always remained here in his home of Corunna.”
McCurdy immigrated to America from Scotland in 1837, at the age of 8. His family settled in Birmingham, where he became a Mason in the Birmingham Lodge 44 in 1850. The following year, McCurdy founded Corunna Masonic Lodge 115, for which he served as master for six years, according to Fureigh.
In 1873, McCurdy was named the grand master of Masons of Michigan.
McCurdy was a prosecutor for Shiawassee County and later served as a probate judge and on the board of supervisors. He was elected to the state Senate in 1864 and helped establish the First national Bank of Corunna. He died in 1908.
City assessor Merilee Lawson donated a McCurdy medallion to the historical village. The medallion was from 1895, and commemorated McCurdy’s time as grand master. Lawson said she discovered the medallion while going through the belongings of her in-laws after they passed away.
“I’ve had it for six or seven years thinking, ‘I’ve gotta get that to someone who’s really going to preserve it and take care of it,’” Lawson said. “I thought this is the time to have that, to have his medallion go with the display, so I donated it to the village.”
Lawson, who is also in charge of planning events for this year’s city sesquicentennial celebration, said the Masons’ donation to the fireworks comes at a good time.
“The Masons got a hold of us about four months ago and were talking about the dedication for Hugh McCurdy and then they said, ‘We would like to donate money to your extended fireworks.’ And I had nobody sponsor that, it just comes out of the city coffer, so for us it was great,” Lawson said. “We’re looking for another sponsor again and we haven’t gotten any confirmation yet, and that’s another $5,000 shortage so their $2,000 is really huge for us, especially because this year we are doing the extended fireworks.”
As part of the year-long celebration, the city is boosting its fireworks budget, adding small displays for the tribute band concert July 3 and the Christmas lighting in December. The city is also extending its annual fireworks display July 4, adding approximately $3,000 to the budget.
“A whole bunch of people came together to determine what we are going to do for the sesquicentennial, and at first it was just going to be, we’re just going to take the Fourth of July because just about everything people do to celebrate a sesquicentennial our Fourth of July has, car shows, the parade, whatever. But the people that came to the table started dreaming big of vintage fashion shows and the storybook parade, which was cool. It all evolved. We just had a lot of great things, and there’s more all the way to the end of the year,” Lawson said.