Crews may have finally found the time capsule from 1887 that was believed to be inside the pedestal of the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Shortly after 7 a.m. Friday, the time capsule was reportedly discovered by crew members disassembling the pedestal, according to the office of Gov. Ralph Northam.
Workers noticed something that looked “different” Friday morning, so they chiseled down with a hammer and found the top of what appears to be the time capsule inside a large block under one inch of cement, Northam’s office said.
The time capsule was found about 20 feet in the air, in the tower, not in the pedestal’s base. It was found about 8 feet from the outside of the granite and about one foot from the edge of the core.
The capsule appears to be largely undamaged, according to the governor’s office.
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The stone must be removed and lowered to the ground before historic preservation teams are able to confirm whether this is, in fact, the actual time capsule. It may take a day or more for the historic preservation teams to determine if it actually is the time capsule.
Records from the Library of Virginia suggest that a copper time capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the pedestal on Oct. 27, 1887. It is believed 37 Richmond residents, organizations and business contributed about 60 objects to the capsule, many of which are believed to be related to the Confederacy.
In September, workers failed to find the capsule a day after the bronze figure of Lee riding his horse came down and was hauled away in pieces on a truck. Left behind was the 40-foot pedestal covered with graffiti from the 20202 racial justice protests.
Contractors hired by the state were scheduled to remove the 134-year-old time capsule from the cornerstone in September. But after removing a 2,500-pound capstone and a 500-pound lid, crews were unable to pinpoint the capsule’s precise location.
As the search continued for the old time capsule, officials held a ceremony on Sept. 9 to place a new time capsule inside the monument, located in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue.
Northam originally planned to keep the pedestal in place. But earlier this month, he announced plans to remove the enormous pedestal and transfer ownership of the grassy island in the middle of a traffic circle where the statue was located to]