Undoubtedly filled with 8-tracks of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and some super-done, trendy knickers of the time, Boston unearthed a time capsule Friday thought to have been placed by legendary patriots Sam Adams and Paul Revere. We found it because of a leak in a municipal building, so yay for government work, I guess:
The artifact was unearthed Thursday thanks to a water leak near its resting place inside a cornerstone at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
When workers investigating the leak stumbled upon it, Secretary of State William Galvin, who heads the state historical commission, called Pamela Hatchfield, the head of object conservation at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
“There was a big discussion about whether or not it should be removed,” Hatchfield told Brooke Baldwin on “CNN Newsroom” on Friday. “(But) because there was water infiltration in that area of the building, it was decided that we’d try to see if we could find it, investigate and see whether the box was still intact.”
Hatchfield spent seven hours Thursday delicately and painstakingly chipping away at the stone to extricate it.
“The contents are of concern, but the plaster that held the box in place is in good condition,” Galvin said.
According to Galvin, the box-shaped capsule was placed by the Revolutionary-era duo in 1795, a year when Adams was governor and when construction began on the State House and its iconic dome, which would eventually be overlaid with copper by Revere.
Officials plan to X-ray the box on Sunday and open it sometime this week, according to AP reporting. But the contents aren’t entirely mysterious because the time capsule was opened and its contents transferred to a new box in the 1800s:
The small time capsule is believed to contain items such as old coins, documents, newspapers and a metal plate that was owned by Revere. Secretary of State William Galvin speculated that some of the items could have deteriorated over time…
Originally made of cowhide, the time capsule was believed to have been embedded in the cornerstone when construction on the state Capitol began in 1795. Adams was governor of Massachusetts at the time.
The time capsule was removed in the mid-19th century and its contents transferred to a copper box, Galvin said. Its removal Thursday was due to an ongoing water filtration project at the building. Galvin said the plan is to return it to the site sometime next year.
According to the Bostonian Society, which maintains the 1713-built Old Massachusetts State House, the rectangular copper box containing a variety of artifacts from 1901 was sealed inside one of two iconic statues — a lion and a unicorn — that have been a familiar site atop the Old State House for a couple of centuries.
The Bostonian Society didn’t — or couldn’t — fully divulge the 113-year-old time capsule’s contents, explaining that “the process of extracting documents that are old and probably fragile will need to be slow and careful.” But a Boston Globe article from February 24, 1901, detailed what went into the box, which the story predicted would “prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence.”
It was full of newspaper clippings and some pictures of politicians, which sounds about right for politicians. Here’s hoping we’ll come across some patriotic wisdom in this newest find and perhaps another seasonal Sam Adams recipe, straight from the source. I would not complain.