Solving a Liberty Square Mystery… far from Orlando

If you’re like me, you spend countless hours gazing contemplatively at minor details all over Walt Disney World. “What could THIS symbol mean,” you may muse, and you snap a photo, resolved to figure it out later. Some of these riddles are solved with effective Google skills, but others resist easy answer. One that has vexed me for years has finally been solved by exploring, of all things, the birth of our country.

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High above a Cast-Member entrance to backstage in Liberty Square, roughly situated between the under-appreciated Columbia Harbour House and the Hall of Presidents, is a curious symbol. It sits without explanation simply high over the entrance backstage.

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A standard search of the Internet, at least using all the keywords I could think of, didn’t turn anything up.

The modern Internet being what it is, you’d think one could simply reverse-image-search this and figure out what it is. Google’s reverse-image-search had an idea, all right: it had to do with gloves. That was, needless to say, a bit disheartening. It looked more like some sort of Freemason symbol.

As luck would have it, I found myself in Philadelphia this summer, looking at such revered historical places as Independence Hall and the more-modern Liberty Bell exhibit. I was full of hope that we could finally figure out what this one vexing problem was. While downtown, we also passed a massive Freemason structure, and my thoughts leapt to this interlocking symbol. Conspiracy theorists will exult in the fact that you can now tour this structure.

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We didn’t go in, but it turned out a day later we didn’t need to in order to find out the solution to my Disney riddle. We were elsewhere in the old city; specifically, at the smallish house where the First Continental Congress was held (and a resolution was sent to England that the taxation situation was unfair and untenable).

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A side display in this little house took my breath away.

IMG_5069Here it was! The magical symbol! 

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Reading through the accompanying material eagerly, I quickly found out what I needed to know. This symbol is a “fire mark.”

We know the word “trademark” but don’t think much about what it means: it means a “mark” on your “trade”–this is yours alone. A “fire mark” is a symbol used to indicate that your structure has been insured against fire…so if a fire breaks out, the fire department knows to actually take action and preserve your house!

That was a neat detail to find on an otherwise-not-Disney-related trip!

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