Texas town finds 1930s time capsule, unsure how to open it

TAYLOR, Texas -- Demolition crews recovered a time capsule in Taylor dating back more than 75 years.

Crews found the capsule while knocking down the old City Hall building on Main Street. Residents are unsure how to open it.

The capsule was placed inside City Hall's foundation when the building was first built in 1935.

When present day Taylor Main Street Manager Deby Lannen shook the box, not much happened.

"It's not rattling, and it's heavy. We think there's going to be a lot of interesting things coming out of it when we open it," she said.

Lannen believes the 10x8x5 inch copper box is tightly packed. The concern now is how to open it. Heat could potentially threaten the fragile documents inside. Lannen's latest suggestion is a can opener, although there's no obvious edge to start at.

As for what's inside, city leaders have a pretty good idea. A 1935 article from the Taylor Daily Press said:

"Among the articles are: Taylor Annual St. Patrick's Day parade, 1935; old pictures by A.A. Reno; roster of the Taylor Fire Department of 1903 taken from the old cornerstone and placed there by W.A. Still; {indecipherable} city limits of Taylor, May 1935; put there by T.W. Falkenberg; log of artesian well No. 2; autographs of President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Vice President John N. Garner, former Governor of Texas Miriam A. Ferguson, present Governor James V. Allred, Jack Dempsey, boxing champion; Will Rogers, actor and humorist; J.P. Buchanan, representative; program of the Knights of Columbus 32nd Annual State Convention Banquet; Chamber of Commerce directors and officers; program of the Little Theater play "The Drunkard"; dedication program of St. Mary's School; American Café menu; oil well fire, presented by Will Stern; French door key taken from the 96th Aero Squadron barracks at Petite Maulin, France, and an airplane level presented by Frank Darlington; list of city employees; The Taylor Daily Press Trade Day issue; coin by C.O. Daliet; $188.50 in Confederate money submitted by Will Pryor; coins taken from the old cornerstone; picture of Marvin Bogg dressed for the Bowery Ball; centennial coin by E. Rummel; Centennial coin by C. Irving Ahlgreen; roster of the Taylor Fire Department of 1935; old penny by Asst. Chief of Police Ned Fails; a check dated 2035 for $100.00 by Fred I. Fisher; a letter by Sheriff Louis Lowe of Georgetown with an inscription on the envelope that reads, 'When this is read, I will be dead.'"

"It'll just be interesting to see their take on what Taylor was at that point in time compared to what we are now," Lannen said.

In 2006 the Taylor Fire Department, the last department to occupy the building, moved out. The former City Hall building has been empty and in limbo ever since, and then this summer the city decided to tear it down.

Now, the city has a souvenir: A time capsule of years gone by, keeping history alive for years to come.

City leaders say they're still planning when the time capsule will be open, but they hope to do it this fall during one of Taylor's outdoor festivals.

Once opened, the city hopes to display the capsule's contents at City Hall.


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