Crews working to remove the pedestal where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee towered over Richmond for more than a century believe they’ve found a time capsule that was buried there in 1887. Governor Ralph Northam’s office said it appears to be largely undamaged, CBS affiliate WTVR reports.
The massive bronze equestrian statue of Lee, erected in 1890, was taken down in September, more than a year after Northam ordered its removal after protests over racism and police brutality erupted across the country following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The day after the statue was removed, work crews spent more than 12 hours searching for the time capsule in the 40-foot tall pedestal, but were unable to locate it.
On Friday, crews found a square box embedded in a granite stone. The box appears to be the copper time capsule, said Devon Henry, owner of the construction company that is working to remove the pedestal.
Clark Mercer, Governor Northam’s chief of staff, confirmed the discovery, but said crews still need to dislodge the box from a large granite block to be sure it is the time capsule.
“It looks like it is (the time capsule),” Mercer said. “We’re hoping it hasn’t been damaged by water over the last 100-plus years.”
A newspaper article from 1887 suggests the capsule contains Civil War memorabilia and a “picture of Lincoln lying in his coffin,” although historians believe it’s doubtful the picture is an actual photograph, which would be rare and valuable.
WTVR reports that records from the Library of Virginia suggest that 37 Richmond residents, organizations and businesses contributed about 60 objects to the capsule, many of which are believed to be related to the Confederacy.
The station reported officials created a new time capsule to replace the one from 1887, even though it had not been found at the time. The new capsule contained things like a COVID vaccination card and a Black Lives Matter sticker.
Original Article: 1887 time capsule possibly found in Robert E. Lee statue base (msn.com)