You couldn’t have asked for better weather for Saturday’s time capsule opening at the Historic Effingham Courthouse.
Several hundred people turned out to witness the event in which the cornerstone was removed from the building and the copper time capsule pulled out. It was opened for the first time in more than 100 years.
The copper box sealed in 1909 took some doing to open and revealed a Feb. 12, 1909, issue of the Springfield Herald, along with the Wall Street Journal and other papers and pamphlets. Contents also included a pair of scissors, a beautifully sculpted pocket knife, a ladies hat with a fragment of a band of stars on it, a sign language card, three Masons pins, a Sea Board Airline Railway boarding pass, a gold-appointed writing pen, a disintegrated American flag and a handful of vintage American coins.
Richard Loper, president of the Historic Effingham Society, gave a historical perspective while the contents of the box were removed and put on display. Then, while the new time capsule box was being fashioned onsite by Gene Loomis, Mark Fitzpatrick gave the audience an overview of the courthouse renovation efforts.
The audience included a group of local Masons along with James Rahn and Dick and Mitchell Ambrose of Camp Davis, Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Bill Whatley of the Ebenezer Rifles, Camp 1901. The new copper box was then taken around so audience members could place their own mementos in the new capsule for another 100-year wait. State Rep. Ann Purcell placed a flag that has flown over the state Capitol in the box.
As a special treat, 100-year-old Ms. Willie Tebeau was asked to push the new time capsule into the hollowed out cornerstone. Tebeau was born just 10 months after the original time capsule was laid. A group of local Masons stood by as the cornerstone was replaced into the courthouse wall.
The original contents of the time capsule will now be on display in a cabinet built from leftover timbers used in the building of the courthouse. The display cabinet will be housed in the Judicial Complex lobby until it can be returned to the Historic Courthouse after the renovations are complete.