Historians opened the 113-year-old time capsule inside the Old State House’s golden lion statue Thursday, and were surprised by what they found: a mystery red book resting on top of the box’s contents.
Onlookers at a press-only unveiling gasped when the sealed box was pryed open. Library and Archives Manager at the Bostonian Society Elizabeth Roscio had every intention of assessing each content in the box, but decided not to remove the items once she noticed the box was so tightly packed.
Items won't be removed. But all seems in "remarkably good condition." No mold, no yellowing of paper. pic.twitter.com/3xPFZXpmmt— Lara Salahi (@BostonLara) October 9, 2014
As much of the contents of the box we'll be seeing today... (Mystery red book!) pic.twitter.com/fr3noPhQkb— Lara Salahi (@BostonLara) October 9, 2014
Instead, the items will be sorted in a clean and controlled environment, Roscio said.
A 1901 Boston Daily Globe article listed the many items that were placed in the box, including photographs of political leaders, letters, and newspapers of the time. But a red book was not mentioned.
Roscio speculated that the book could be the family history of Samuel Rogers. Indeed, the 1901 Globe article says a “History of the Rogers and Fernald families, deposited by S. D. Rogers, who did the alteration work on the old state house, 1901’’ was placed in the capsule, but does not say the color of the book.
Bob Shure, the president of Skylight Studios in Woburn, where the statue is undergoing repairs, took off the crown of the lion statue and took the shoebox-sized time capsule out of its head.
A new time capsule with modern day items will replace the extracted box, the historians said.
Some items the public has suggested to the society include an iPhone 6, a photo of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and a Mike’s Pastry cannoli, Roscio said.
Brian LeMay, president of the Bostonian Society, told Boston.com he would like to see photos of items from the opened time capsule put into the new one that will be created, which the society plans to do.