Historian discovers Masonic freeway conspiracyThis article was posted as an April Fool's joke.
In a recently published article, a local historian claims to have discovered hidden messages in the design of Washington's freeways.
The historian, Tyler Vanderschmidt, says that he has found evidence of a Masonic conspiracy to use freeway building to embed the symbology of the secretive organization in the capital city. The discovery came, according to his article, as he studied a map of the Anacostia Freeway while lost east of the River. "I was looking at the map," he says, "and suddenly my eyes were opened. It became clear that I was on the verge of a major discovery."
The secrecy surrounding the controversial organization makes it difficult to tell with any certainty who can be counted among the Masons' ranks. However, it appears that many Masons were in positions of power during the freeway planning process. Mr. Vanderschmidt's research seems to bear out his theory.
These images seem to run counter to claims that Masons had nothing to do with freeway building in the capital. The blog "Drive: Four-Nine-Five" makes this claim. Four-Nine-Five writer Bart V. finds the idea that the Masons advocated for freeways as a way to implant secret messages in the urban form laughable. "It's absurd," he writes, "who in their right mind would believe that the Masons were writing secret messages with freeway ramps?"
In fact, he claims that the Masons actually conspired with the Nixon Administration behind the scenes to stop freeway building. One of his missions at Four-Nine-Five, it seems, is to expose the Masonic conspiracy against the freeways. "Only the Masons had the kind of clout to stop the inner city freeways," he reports. In fact, he claims to have been to a secret meeting recently where high-powered Masons reported on their activities to continue to stop freeway construction. But he won't name names.
Representatives from DDOT seem reluctant to wade into the controversy. One spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, suggests that the Masons might have had a horse in the race. "Our work rehabilitating some of the freeways has discovered old fashioned construction methods, pre-1950s stuff," he reports, "the stonework we've uncovered represent some real masterpieces." As experts at stone cutting and assembly, the Masons would have had a lot to gain from freeway contracts.
In the map at right, the Anacostia Freeway and GW Parkway (red) form the compass, and the DC border (green) forms the square. Vanderschmidt hypothesizes that the Masons hoped to recreate their famous symbol "Square and Compasses" directly on the landscape in order to bind our political processes to their will.
This may explain the full history of the Masonic involvement with freeways. They advocated for freeways on the one hand to place their name on the landscape, but then opposed further expansion to keep their symbology clear.
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