Time Capsule Discovery: Box From 1795 Found In Massachusetts State House

The discovery of the oldest time capsule in the U.S. is reported yesterday (December 11) by ABC News. The time capsule, found in the corner of the Massachusetts State House, is believed to have been left by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. The time capsule was removed by conservators from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

“The 219-year-old capsule is made of cowhide and was initially discovered during State House renovations in 1855. When the repairs were complete, the state’s 23rd governor, Henry Gardner, re-buried it in the granite cornerstone of the historic building, adding new items, including coins,” ABC News reported.

The time-capsule may include old coins, newspapers, and other items from 1795, the Guardian reported. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said the plan is to return the time capsule to that site in the state house next year. The time capsule was discovered and removed during an ongoing water filtration project at the Massachusetts State House.

This discovery of the oldest time capsule is the latest of discoveries of other historic time capsules. The Guardian cited discovery of another time-capsule at the Old State House in Massachusetts, which contained several items from 1901.

The time-capsule had been entombed in large granite stones that made up the corner of the state house, and had to be carefully removed from the granite stones.

The condition of the items in the time capsule is a concern upon discovery. Often the contents are exposed to moisture and other elements, and they may have deteriorated over time.

“We know that some of the items were washed with acid in 1855 because of the humidity. We don’t know if that caused deterioration. We are still hopeful that the contents are in good condition,” Galvin said. “It’s hard work. Back then they probably had a horse and buggy transport that cornerstone and it is still solid today,” ABC News reported.

The contents discovered in the time-capsule will be available for the public to see at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

“It’s a great piece of Boston history,” Galvin said about the contents of the time capsule.

The discovery of the time capsule in Boston is the latest of many such discoveries. The discovery of a disappeared ship in Lake Superior 115 years after it was lost revealed was much like a discovery of a time capsule.