Construction workers in Baltimore, Maryland were surprised to discover a 200-year-old time capsule hidden inside a cornerstone of the city’s Washington Monument.
“We discovered the cornerstone last week. No one has ever known where it is, so it's a pretty neat find. It's well known that they laid a cornerstone, but they never actually mentioned where the cornerstone was actually placed in the building. So it's pretty neat to have found it,” Mount Vernon Place Conservancy historian Lance Humphries said.
The centuries-old contents of the cornerstone were unveiled last week. “We stopped all work, sent everyone else away and started hand excavation,” project superintendent George Wilk said. Inside of the cornerstone was three glass jars in perfect condition, stuffed and wrapped with 200-year-old newspapers.
“Here are all these newspapers dated July 1 and July 3, 1815, and you just felt these people in 1815 taking those the next day and putting them in this container and burying them,” Humphries said. Historians believe that there is more inside the cornerstone than just the glass bottles, but the contents will not be touched until it is moved to a local museum for safe keeping.
“The cornerstone really speaks to the importance of the Washington Monument,” Humphries said. “This was the first monument to Washington in this country, and they knew that when they were laying this stone that this was a very big moment for Baltimore, Maryland, and the United States to be building this monument.
“It was amazing to see inside the cornerstone that there was this beautifully carved (decorative) panel of the stone masons and the stone carvers from 1815.”