A time capsule that could contain artifacts dating back to 1795 has been unearthed at the State House.
The capsule was discovered after state officials were looking at water leaks into the buildings foundation near the southeast corner of the Bulfinch Building earlier this week, according to state officials.. Crews, assisted by a conservator from the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), worked for hours Thursday to remove the capsule from a block of granite weighing several hundred pounds, which is the State House’s historic cornerstone.
The capsule, however, has yet to be opened and the state is giving any time frame. It is believed to be one of the oldest time capsules in Massachusetts.
The capsule is thought to include materials placed in 1795 by Revolutionary War-era patriots Samuel Adams – then the state’s governor -- Paul Revere and William Scollay. That trio placed the time capsule in a ceremony that started at the old State House, now located near the State Street T stop, to the state legislature’s current home on Beacon Hill.
The capsule was first discovered during emergency repairs to the State House sixty years later, in 1855. Governor Henry Gardner oversaw the ceremony to replace the deposit in 1855
The capsule is thought to include a collection of coins dating between 1652 and 1855, an engraved silver plate, newspapers, the seal of the commonwealth, cards and a title page from Massachusetts Colony Records, according to Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance.
The MFA said it will provide conservation consultation and services for the artifacts. There is no timeline on when the capsule will be x-rayed.
Removing the cornerstone will allow the state to address the water leaks that endangered both the time capsule and the structural integrity of the State House itself
In September, a time capsule from around the turn of the 20th century was discovered within the decorative lion’s head that adorned the Old State House. That capsule contained sealed letters, photographs, newspapers articles and a wooden piece of the original lion statue that dated back to the 1880s.