1901 time capsule to be removed from lion statue

The society first learned about the possible existence of the time capsule years ago

Courtesy: Massachusetts Office of Travel

WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — Hidden away in the head of a lion statue atop a historic building, a copper box could hold snippets of Boston’s past.

The Bostonian Society on Thursday plans to delicately remove the time capsule, which has been sealed inside the lion’s head since 1901. Rumors of its existence were confirmed last month when the statue was taken down from the Old State House for refurbishing.

The society first learned about the possible existence of the time capsule years ago from the great-great-granddaughter of a man who had worked on renovations to the Old State House. A 1901 article from The Boston Globe surfaced later, alluding to contents of a copper box “which will prove interesting when the box is opened many years hence.”

The box is believed to contain a variety of items including letters, newspaper clippings and political paraphernalia from the period, according to a group that operates a museum in the building.

While it’s hoped the box can be opened Thursday, it’s unlikely any documents inside would be removed or displayed immediately because of their fragile condition after 113 years, said Heather Leet, director of development for the Bostonian Society.

One of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions, the Old State House has a storied history. It was just outside the building that British regulars opened fire on a crowd of protesters in 1770, killing five people in what would become known as the Boston Massacre.

In the summer of 1776, the newly-signed Declaration of Independence was read for the first time to Bostonians from a balcony of the building, which would later go on to serve as the first seat of Massachusetts government.

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