Crews may have discovered 1887 time capsule under Confederate statue in Virginia

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Crews removing a pedestal that once supported a monument of Robert E. Lee believe they may have found a time capsule from 1887. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR/WRIC) – On Friday morning, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that crews may have found a 134-year-old time capsule filled with Confederate artifacts in Richmond.

In September, the country’s largest Confederate statue, which depicted Robert E. Lee atop a horse, was removed from Richmond’s Monument Avenue. Days later, workers installed a new time capsule within the statue’s massive pedestal after efforts to locate one from 1887 were suspended.

Earlier this month, the process of removing the pedestal of the Lee statue began. While working on the pedestal Friday, crews believe they have now found the 1887 capsule.

“Workers noticed something that looked ‘different’ this morning, so they chiseled down with a hammer and found the top of what appears to be the time capsule — located inside a large block, under one inch of cement,” Northam’s office said in a statement. “It was located approximately 20 feet in the air, in the tower, not in the pedestal’s base. It was located approximately 8 feet from the outside of the granite and about one foot from the edge of the core. It appears to be largely undamaged.”

The governor’s office says historians believe a time capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the Lee pedestal on Oct. 27, 1887. Records from the Library of Virginia reportedly 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.

Officials say the 2,000-pound granite block needs to be removed and lowered to the ground before historic preservation teams can confirm whether the actual time capsule is inside. That process is expected to take much of the day on Friday, if not longer.

If this is confirmed to be the time capsule, it will reportedly be transported to the Department of Historic Resources, so it can be opened in a way that preserves the artifacts.

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