1795 time capsule returned to State House cornerstone

Time capsule placed in a new box, containing plaque by Franklin County silversmith

BOSTON (WWLP) – A time capsule dating back to the administration of President George Washington was re-deposited into the State House cornerstone Wednesday, but not before a few new items were added.

Top state leaders and a crowd full of Freemasons watched as a little piece of history was returned to the cornerstone for future generations to rediscover. Governor Charlie Baker was among the officials who participated in the historical festivities.

“What makes this time capsule so unusual is it’s not an interpretation from an historian,” Baker said. “It’s the story that our predecessors wanted us to know and understand.”

The historic box was placed in the cornerstone in 1795 by then-Governor Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. It was first discovered in 1855, and then re-discovered late last year when a maintenance crew was searching for the source of a water leak.

Inside the brass box, curators found old coins, newspapers and a silver plaque describing the original cornerstone laying.

The new stainless steel box contains modern coins and a new silver plaque made and engraved by silversmith Steve Smithers of Ashfield.

Members of the Grand Lodge of Masons performed a traditional ceremony with corn, oil, and wine before the time capsule was sealed into the State House cornerstone. Secretary of State Bill Galvin stressed the significance of the state capitol building.

Don’t treat this building as simply a museum, a place to marvel at, and a place of beauty. Treat it as a place to come to; make your voices heard,” Galvin said.

The cornerstone will return to the State House foundation Thursday and Friday.

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