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Friday, January 04, 2008

Washington's Key Of All Keys

Dan Brown has got to be pulling his hair out.

After telling everybody that his next book would be about the Freemasons and Washington DC, and probably called The Solomon Key, then not publishing anything for almost five years, the world has had way too much time to second guess every possible plot point, landmark and potential clue he might use. And I suspect every time a National Treasure movie comes out, his wife has to spend three days talking him off of the window ledge.

So as I'm doing research this week, for recreation I'm also reading Bob Arnebeck's Through A Fiery Trial, which is a mind-numbingly detailed account of the building of Washington DC, the subject of my book Solomon's Builders. As I hit the stories of 1793 and the building of the White House and the Capitol Building, I came across a reference that leapt off the page, screaming Dan Brown Alert. It talks about a large rock outcropping in the Potomac River called, of all things, The Key Of All Keys.

A little digging discovered this passage in BUILDING STONES OF OUR NATION'S CAPITAL by Washington's late historical geologist, Jim O’Connor:

In colonial days the first solid ground on the marshy north shore of the Potomac, just north of where the Lincoln Memorial is now, was an outcrop of Piedmont rocks which jutted out into the river. This promontory served as the starting point for surveys establishing property lines for the early settlers. On several old maps it is labeled "Key of All Keys," and for many years it bore a surveyor's benchmark. Its more popular name was Braddock's Rock reportedly because General Braddock and his red-coated soldiers accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel George Washington landed there in 1755 on their ill-fated journey to Fort Duquesne.

In time Braddock's Rock became a quarry. It is said to have furnished stone for the foundations of both the White House and the Capitol. Later, stone from Braddock's Rock was used in the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. About 1832, when the canal was extended below Georgetown to connect with the Washington City Canal, nearly all that was left of the original outcrop of Braddock's Rock was blasted away. The riverside swamps have long since been filled and the land raised above the level of the original surface.

All that remains of Braddock's Rock can still be seen enclosed in a circular granite-lined well south of the grounds of the old Naval Hospital, amidst the approach ramps to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. An iron grill covers the top of the well, and a ladder leads down to the rock, which is about 16 feet below the present land surface and is usually covered by several inches of water.

O'Connor refers to the Old Naval Hospital, but the same property was home to an earlier building, the Old Naval Observatory, which was built on what was known in the Colonial times as "Observatory Hill." British Navy ships frequently docked here to offload troops and supplies. And it's location is directly east of what was Mason's Island (now Roosevelt Island, named after Freemason Teddy Roosevelt).

So, if the rock was chipped away and used as foundation stones by Freemason and Washington architect james Hoban for both the White House and the Capitol Building – both of which had cornerstones laid by the Freemasons - that means both buildings contain pieces of the Key Of All Keys.

These days, all that remains of the rock itself is at the bottom of a well on the access ramp from Constitution Avenue to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge on the way to Virginia.

Now, if you are a believer in David Ovasson's book The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital then all this observatory business does make a Masonic connection, since Ovason contends that the Masonic designers of Washington were all obsessed with the zodiac, star charts and other such stellar stuff. The Old Observatory still stands in what is now the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery complex, just north of the Lincoln Memorial and just up the hill from the Key of All Keys. The original dome can still be seen and a larger telescope was used in what is now called the Old Transit House. Two notable links with the Old Observatory - it was located very close to what was to be the so-called "Washington Meridian," (16th Street) a somewhat ballsy contender for the Prime Meridian for about ten seconds in the late 1700's; and in 1877, astronomer Asaph Hall discovered the moons of Mars from here.

In 1889, the Daughters of the American Revolution published a long article by Marcus Benjamin in the American Monthly Magazine detailing the tradition of calling the rock Braddock's Rock, but also notes that it was known before the 1750s as The Key Of All Keys. But in a somewhat anti-climactic explanation of a potentially intriguing name, Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan suggests in his 1914 History of the National Capital that it was simply a variation of "quay of all quays." Boring. There has to be more to it than that.

To go from the sublime to the esoteric, 1923's The Royal Secret by I. Edward Clark devotes a chapter to the swastika, which he calls the "key of all keys" (even if linking the swastika and the "key to the House of David" now seems anachronistic, given the symbol's later unfortunate association)."There is a key to every Mystery, and every such key has been so effectively hidden that centuries have elapsed, in some cases, before its discovery. . . . The swastika cross is the key of all keys, and a knowledge of the numerals of the Hebrew alphabet is necessary to unravel the Mysteries attached therein."

Great. A Hebrew swastika.

There you go, Dan. Knock yourself out.


  1. There goes another plot and Mrs. Brown will be doing her Dr. Phil act once again. If she's able to get him in off the ledge, perhaps she ought to go talk some sense to Britney Spears.

    I read The DaVinci Code with mixed emotions. I'm somewhat drawn to page-turners when it comes to recreational reading and in that sense, it wasn't horrible. For all the painstaking research he claims to do, he sure filled up the book with misinformation.

    Anyway, I've kind of been anxious to read the next one since it is (or at least was) going to center around the Freemasons. At the rate his potential storylines are being exposed, the book will never get written.

  2. Even better: the Old Naval Hospital was built at Abraham Lincoln's behest. Congress authorized it in 1864. Of course Lincoln never got to see it finished, since it wasn't completed until 1866.

  3. hey Christopher H.

    I was reading your summary on Braddock's Rock and how you dismissed all evidence, much of it on the realization that the Key of All Keys was probably a reference to Quay of All Quays.

    I disagree, though you might be correct, it does not explain the information we find on the plaque at that site today.

    I think the KEY of ALL KEYs is in the number of men listed as being killed in the ambush, found on that plaque, donated in 1964.

    713 men killed

    Do you want me to explain why 713 is the KEY of ALL KEYS, and why the reference is also made to the depth of the Well as being 16 feet?
    And of course the fact the top circular lintel is in 7 sections could be a clue too.

    stay thirsty my friend
    there is enough mana to go around for everybody...



  4. And if you think my claim to fame regarding the fine structure constant, i.e. the number 137, or the anagrams 317 or 713 is to be dismissed...you need to do a search of the following terms.

    '137 Shugborough Riddle Raphael Shepherd's Monument'

    Which I believe is another work attributed to a Freemason...
    You do realize I am full on?
    You do realize I have put a wedge in the door between SCIENCE and RELIGION?

    You do realize the rules of engagement are about to change?

    137 = the beginning of the end and NO MORE SECRETS?


  5. Hello me again.

    I have a question or two for the Freemason host of this blog.

    IF we could show profound connections/revelations where pi, Phi, phi, speed of light, the fine structure constant and the Maltese Cross are all embedded into the Great Pyramid, which we can further connect to DNA at the atomic level via the Grand Gallery as being part of that evidence that has stood the test of time, what does this indicate, what is the message we are blind too? If the 'medium is the message'? What does all of this evidence suggest about an invisible medium containing a message?
    137 is a dimensionless constant made up of a trinity of other constants.

    So what is the message in the bottle?
    I contend the Great Pyramid is that TRUTH that has been veiled in plain site.

    Gobekli Tepe in Turkey is saying LOUD and CLEAR that current Egyptology with its self serving 'timelines' of what constituted the beginning of civilization is a ruse.
    It exists as part of that evidence where we get to pick and choose our collective HIS-story.
    And ultimately similar tribes form CULTures.




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