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Time capsule from Missouri Capitol opened

Mo. Office of Administration

The contents of a time capsule sealed inside the Missouri Capitol are seeing the light of day for the first time in 100 years. The copper box was removed last week from the southeast cornerstone of the Capitol building, where it had sat since June 24, 1915.

Workers at a state-run lab Thursday carefully used saws and drills to open the copper time capsule. Steve Cusumano with Gov. Jay Nixon's Office of Administration narrated the opening during a live video feed, via Twitter's Periscope.  Links to the video coverage can be found here.

"Materials look like they're in great shape," Cusumano said, seconds after the capsule was opened. "We can see some papers, some documents, some newspapers."

Editions of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star were found among the newspapers, as were others no longer published, such as the Kansas City Times, the Star's morning paper. The Star was an afternoon edition before the two papers merged.

"Here is a copy of the Kansas City Star…. You can see sports scores of the day that St. Louis beat Brooklyn 2-1 in baseball," Cusumano said.  "This (other) newspaper is from St. Louis...I think I see some stories here from World War I."

There were also editions of the St. Louis Republic, Jefferson City Post, St. Louis Times, Democrat-Tribune, and a German language newspaper, the Westliche Post.  German was still widely spoken in some Missouri cities and towns prior to America's entry into World War One.

Other contents included a Missouri House journal from 1911 and appendixes from the House and Senate also dated 1911.  That was the same year the prior Capitol building was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire.

"There is actually a slight smell," Cusumano said.  "Musty, I would say."

There was also a "mystery item" inside the time capsule:  a tube-shaped container that was not listed among the contents.

Credit Mo. Office of Administration
A copy of the daily newspaper St. Louis Republic, published on the same date as it was placed inside the time capsule. The Republic was sold to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1919.

"It was placed in by the Masons," Cusumano said, "and it (says) 'East Gate Lodge of 630 AF&AM, Kansas City, Missouri.'"

A new time capsule is scheduled to be sealed and entombed on July 3 during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the laying of the Capitol's cornerstone.  Nixon announced earlier this month that the new capsule would contain "items representing Missouri government, technology, sports and culture."

Suggestions for items to include in the new time capsule are being accepted through midnight, June 20, and can be submitted online at Mo.gov/TimeCapsule, or via Twitter using #MoTimeCapsule.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport  

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.