News & Politics

Time Capsule Found in Robert E. Lee Memorial Contains…BOOKS

There was also a cloth envelope.

Governor Ralph Northam lifts the lid on a time capsule opened Wednesday.

Conservators from Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources on Wednesday opened a time capsule found in the pedestal of the erstwhile Robert E. Lee memorial in Richmond.

Kate Ridgeway and Chelsea Blake used a variety of tools to carefully open the lead box, which was soldered shut, over a period of several hours while journalists watched. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam attended the beginning and end of the process and lifted the box’s lid after Ridgeway and Blake finally freed it. Inside they found three books, a cloth envelope, and a coin, all of which the conservators will need to dry out before cataloging and preserving the items.

One of the books appears to be a copy of the 1875 edition of the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, which was published by a US Department of Navy office. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can find a reprint on Amazon for $10-20.

Though the box was sealed, a crack at the bottom may have allowed some humidity in, and opening the box further exposed its contents to oxygen.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.