Buffalo leaders open time capsule from 1920

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – City officials took a step back in time Friday, all the way back to the roaring twenties. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other officials unsealed a time capsule from May 15th, 1920.

During the renovation of the 500 block of Main Street, to return car traffic to the area, crews discovered a time capsule located underneath the statue the of “The Hiker”.

“Even spotting that it was there. It was built right into the foundation and that foundation was located on Huron and Main right on our 500 block of Main street. For them to find that and do no damage to the actual time capsule itself was very exciting. Take a bunch of contractors with a bunch of heavy equipment and they were handling it like a new born baby, ” said Steve Stepniak, the Buffalo Commissioner of Public Works.

Included in the capsule were front page newspapers from May 29th, 1920. There is a paper of listed names, likely local veterans that served in the Spanish American War. There is a regional publication called “The Hiker” that was sent out to veterans of the Spanish American War and that is where the statue gets its name.

“We moved it to Di Donato Associates Office which is right in the area, to protect it and get it out of the weather and it was evident that there was some weather damage to it,” said Stepniak.

The reason for the damage was because the box was made of copper which was typical for the time period, before plastics and sealant.

There are several time capsules throughout the city, one that is at the Buffalo History Museum. They are typically marked to indicate when they are to be open.

“We have most of the items in this box housed in our collection already, in pristine condition so if you are intrigued by the story of “The Hiker” and the contents of the box you will be able to access them here in our research library,” said Melissa Brown Director of Buffalo History Museum.

Before the museum, the documents were taken to the Buffalo State Art Conservation Department to help with the severe water damage and mold.

The capsules contents will be on display at the museum for the next couple of weeks.


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