100 YEARS SINCE: Time capsule from 1922 holds well-preserved items inside

In the Pennington County Courthouse, the items inside included newspapers, rosters and a few surprises

RAPID CITY, S.D. – 100 years is a long time. But Wednesday, a centennial time capsule that was sealed with mortar was removed and opened from an air duct at the Pennington County Courthouse.

“This was kind of a challenge. You know, there was records indicating it was in the datestone. We didn’t know how to get to it for sure. We were afraid of trying to go in from the outside that would possibly damage the outside of the building. After some research, we learned that there is an airduct that goes three stories up above us in the front of the building,” Mike Kuhl, Director of Pennington County Buildings & Grounds, said. “It’s a little like ‘National Treasure.’ None of us knew that it was even there.”

Time Capsule3The process started with figuring out exactly where the capsule was and how to get to it without damaging any part of the building.

“There was a little bit of work. It was if you see the pictures, it kind of shows where it was at, but we didn’t know exactly. So, we had some technology come in and show us exactly where it was supposed to be at, and we kept digging until we found it,” Dave Eccleston, Assistant Director of Pennington County Buildings & Grounds, said.

The technology that was brought in was from Mike Albertson’s Engineering Company and the location of the capsule was found on Aug. 9.

Once removed, the capsule was opened which proved a little more difficult than people originally thought.

The items inside were well preserved and included things like coins, two newspapers, and a knights roster of the Masonry in the 1920s.

“Some of the items that were in the time capsule had me astonished and amazed. I saw a lot of Masonic presence back in the 1920s that was pulled out of there – the box. I am really proud to be here and I am so glad I was invited,” Bryant Stokes, Junior Grand Warden of the South Dakota Grand Lodge, said. “It makes me feel great to be a Mason because really now, saw the influence back in the twenties and how they’ve migrated and evolved to today’s masons. And it makes me proud to know the charity work that we do every day, it’s making a huge difference.”

Stokes says he hopes to put his masonic coin in the new time capsule when it’s put together.

“I had it made specifically for South Dakota, it’s catered in South Dakota. So, there’s just about everything that a tourist can come see inImg 0737 the state of South Dakota,” He said. “There is not another coin like it. It’s made specifically for me. And on the back of the coin is our Masonic symbols.”

He also talked about how the masonry reached to many people in the community in the 1920s and how making time capsules and wanting to share their lives with the future was big even in the ’60s.

There were a few unexpected items, like a container of Copenhagen snuff.

With some paper, they were comfortable unfolding with its conditions, while others they left alone to not ruin them.

Being transported in acid-free boxes and with good padding between items, the paper products will be humidified to reduce the brittleness and fragility, and put under glass so it will be a little easier to read.

“We’re not sure we got everything cataloged yet. We suspect there could be things inside of those newspapers that’s folded in there because we’re missing a couple of the items in the original press release, such as the municipal band members. So perhaps that’s been slid inside of one of the products that we can’t do,” Troy Kilpatrick, Executive Director of the Journey Museum, said. “So, we think that we’ll be able to have everything in good condition for the celebration in November. So then that way the public will be able to see each and every one of the pieces as they’ve been recovered and preservation and conservation and tactics have been put into place.”

Along with a celebration in November, the Centennial Committee wishes to put another capsule together but it will not be put back in the same location.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News