Revere-Era Time Capsule Uncovered at The State House

Massachusetts officials worked to remove a time capsule in the cornerstone of the State House in Boston, on Dec. 11, 2014.
Massachusetts officials worked to remove a time capsule in the cornerstone of the State House in Boston, on Dec. 11, 2014. –AP/ Elise Amendola

Boston seems to be putting itself on the map as a time capsule destination lately. Another centuries-old time capsule is currently being unearthed, this time at the new State House, by a Museum of Fine Arts Conservator. According to The Boston Globe, four coins fell from a box found in a cornerstone of the building this morning as it was liberated from the block.

The 219-year-old capsule— a green box believed to contain Revere-era items— was concealed by Governor Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and William Scollay when the building was constructed in 1795. The reveal comes less than two months after historians discovered a time capsule inside the lion statue atop Old State House when it was taken down for cleaning.


Museum of Fine Arts Conservator Pam Hatchfield was chipping away at the stone block concealing the capsule this morning when the coins fell from the cornerstone. Reporters at the site described one of the coins as “silver-colored’’ but “not legible.’’ The box, which was discovered during building maintenance, is expected to be completely unearthed by Thursday afternoon.

But this isn’t the first time the capsule has surfaced. The Boston Globe reported that the box was discovered amidst emergency repairs to the building in 1855, and was returned to its spot following the construction, remaining unopened.

Business Insider claimed this morning that the capsule may be the oldest unopened time capsule on record. It is older than the 113-year-old time capsule recently found in the golden lion atop Boston’s Old State House by 106 years, and puts famous capsules like New York’s 1939 Westinghouse time capsule to shame, age-wise. The Old State House’s lion capsule was recovered in September and contained photographs, letters, and newspaper articles from 1901.

The new capsule will be taken to the Museum of Fine Arts by conservators, who will X-ray it before it is opened next week. The condition of its contents is currently unknown.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of the museum conservator, Pam Hatchfield.

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