HUGH MCCURDY ITEMS were dedicated in a special presentation by Junior Deacon Harry Fureigh of Owosso Masonic Lodge 81 to the Corunna Historical Village on Saturday, June 1. Fureigh is shown beside Corunna Mayor Chuck Kerridge on the porch of the Webster Davis-Kribs cabin during the event. Margaret Waters, representing the village, was on-hand during the ceremony.
The McCurdy items will be on permanent display, honoring his numerous accomplishments, due to the considerable efforts of Fureigh and Owosso Masonic Lodge 81.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
Members from Owosso Masonic Lodge 81 dedicated items having belonged to Corunna’s Hugh McCurdy (1829-1909) in a presentation at the Webster Davis-Kribs house in the Corunna Historical Village on Saturday, June 1. McCurdy was a Scottish immigrant who moved to Michigan at the age of eight, eventually establishing himself in Corunna in 1855 after being admitted as an attorney to the state bar in 1854. Most people in the area are familiar with the McCurdy name because of the popular park named after him – McCurdy Park. McCurdy and his wife donated the land for the park to Corunna in 1899. Prior to that, the couple had lived on-site.
McCurdy and his multiple accomplishments represent one part, albeit arguably a large part, of the history currently being celebrated with the Corunna sesquicentennial. In 1860, McCurdy was elected as a probate judge. In 1864, he became a state senator. He served as the mayor of Corunna in 1880 and 1887. He is also well known to have established the First National Bank of Corunna in 1865, now located at 201 N. Shiawassee Street. The historic structure in place today, renamed the Surbeck building, was rebuilt in 1902, replacing an earlier building destroyed by a fire.
The Hugh McCurdy dedication event was centered on McCurdy’s masonic background, however. Junior Deacon Harry Fureigh, a Corunna resident, organized the presentation, tasking it as one of his first projects as an officer. Fureigh shared that McCurdy became a member of the Masonic Lodge in 1850, becoming Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan in 1873 and then elected Grand Master of the Knights Templar of the U.S. in 1892. At the time of his involvement, he belonged to and was a founding member of Corunna Masonic Lodge 115, which joined with the Owosso Masonic Lodge on May 24, 1974. Two items belonging to McCurdy had likely been transitioned to the combined organization sometime during that process. Fureigh and the Owosso Masons sought to honor McCurdy by having the items returned to Corunna for public display at the historical village. One of the items is an early registration book, containing a McCurdy signature and records of dues, along with other historic information. The second item is piece of Masonic regalia with the symbolic square and compass.
Merilee Lawson, assessor/planner for the city of Corunna and one of the organizers on the Corunna Fourth of July Commission, learned about the items being donated and realized she had a third item that would be an appropriate addition to the collection. Lawson had come upon a medallion owned by Hugh McCurdy while helping settle her in-laws estate a number of years ago. She had kept the item, contemplating an ideal permanent home. That home is now the Corunna Historical Village.
“Who would have ever dreamed that all of this would come full circle,” Lawson shared on Saturday, referencing the three items that are now a part of the permanent Hugh McCurdy collection in the Webster Davis-Kribs house.
Adding to all of it, Owosso Masonic Lodge 81 also presented the city with a check for $2,000 to go toward the enhanced fireworks display on the 4th of July – in McCurdy Park. The enhanced fireworks display, one of three city-planned fireworks events, is in celebration of the sesquicentennial.
“For the city, for the historical society, we are here to serve the community and help make our community better,” stated Owosso Master Nick Dean, just after the check presentation.
For persons interested in viewing the McCurdy memorabilia, the village buildings will be open on the 4th of July. More information on the Corunna Historical Village can be found at www.corunnahistoricalvillage.org. The group is always interested in new members and volunteers, as well.