Crews removing Confederate monument in NC unearth a time capsule buried for 125 years

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For several days last week, workers dismantled the 75-foot Confederate statue that has stood on the state Capitol grounds for 125 years.

Monday, as crews removed the base to finish the job, they unearthed a time capsule of sorts underneath the rubble.

The capsule was placed there when the monument was erected in 1894, said Michele Walker, public information officer for the N.C. Department of Cultural and Resources, in an interview with The News & Observer.

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the statue’s removal, along with the removal of two other Confederate monuments on Capitol grounds. The governor cited public safety in issuing his order June 20, hours after protesters toppled two bronze statues of soldiers from the base of the tallest Confederate statue.

Crews remove the base of the Confederate memorial in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 29, 2020. The monument stood on the Capitol grounds for 125 years and was ordered removed by Gov. Roy Cooper for public safety reasons. Other parts of the monument were removed by both protesters and crews June 19 through June 24.
Crews remove the base of the Confederate memorial in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 29, 2020. The monument stood on the Capitol grounds for 125 years and was ordered removed by Gov. Roy Cooper for public safety reasons. Other parts of the monument were removed by both protesters and crews June 19 through June 24.

Walker said workers from her office have been on site each time a monument is taken down.

The capsule was not opened at the site but instead will be opened later this week in a lab setting so it can be documented, Walker said. The capsule was very rusty, she said.

“We don’t know how well anything survived the elements,” Walker said.

An estimated 30,000 people attended the monument’s dedication on May 20, 1895, according to The News & Observer archives.

Meanwhile, two cannons that stood on the grounds surrounding the monument were moved to the Fort Fisher State Historic Site where they were unveiled Sunday morning, The News & Observer reported.