May 1st was a remarkable day, a day of very high distinction: 'Abdu'l-Baha laid the foundation-stone of the Mother Temple of the West. At Wilmette on the shores of Lake Michigan ample land had been purchased. On the site chosen for the construction of the Temple, a large tent had been raised and here, after inspecting the grounds, 'Abdu'l-Baha took His place to speak. He said:
“The power which has gathered you here today notwithstanding the cold and windy weather is indeed mighty and wonderful. It is the power of God, the divine favour of Baha'u'llah which has drawn you together. We praise God that through His constraining love human souls are assembled and associated in this way.
Thousands of Mashriqu’l-Aadhkars, dawning-points of praise and mentionings of God for all religionists will be built in the Orient and Occident, but this being the first one erected in the Occident has great importance. In the future there will be many here and elsewhere; in Asia, Europe, even in Africa, New Zealand and Australia;* but this edifice in Chicago is of especial significance ..." (you can see the entire talk at : http://centerofcovenanttalks.blogspot.com/2010/05/holiest-mashriqul-adhkar-of-bahai-world.html )
Next, Irene Holmes handed 'Abdu'l-Baha a small, gold trowel which she had ordered for this very purpose, and He dug the earth to lay the corner-stone, having chosen for this a fragment of rock brought by Mrs Nettie Tobin as her offering. Having done so, He invited the delegates of various American communities to do likewise. Following them, 'Abdu'l-Baha asked a number of oriental Baha'is present to step forth and take part: Mihtar Ardishir Bahrarn Surush represented Baha'is of Zoroastrian background, Siyyid Asadu’llah stood in for Baha’is of Muslim origin, Dr. Zia Baghdadi represented Arab Baha’is, and Ghodsieh Khanum-i-Ashraf the Baha’I women of the orient. Then the corner-stone was laid in place. (Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 186-87) (Some pictures are shown at: http://abdulbahawest.blogspot.com/2010/04/abdul-baha-speaking-at-plymouth.html )