History in a Box

Central Texas town uncovers 79-year-old time capsule, but can't open it

Central Texas town uncovers time capsule, but can't open it

old city hall in Taylor in Williamson County
Crews demolishing the old city hall in Taylor, Texas discovered a time capsule that is more than 75 years old.  Photo courtesy of the Williamson County Historical Commission
time capsule uncovered in Taylor at old city hall
City officials are still unsure of how to open the copper time capsule without destroying any precious documents and artifacts.  Photo courtesy of KVUE
old city hall in Taylor in Williamson County
time capsule uncovered in Taylor at old city hall

You never know what you're going to find when you're digging around Texas.

On Tuesday, KVUE reported that demolition crews in Taylor (located in Williamson County) uncovered a 79-year-old copper time capsule. Crews discovered the relic while demolishing the the town's former City Hall on North Main Street. The small box was a welcome surprise to city officials, but now there’s the problem of trying to open it.

It appears that the time capsule's owners took no chances when it came to securing its contents. Some fear that using heat could severely damage old documents in the tightly packed box. Others are suggesting that a can opener could do the trick. 

Even with the contents still locked inside, local officials are pretty confident about what they'll find. A 1935 article from the Taylor Daily Press paints a detailed picture of what artifacts were placed inside.

Among the items listed are numerous photographs of the city along with autographs from the era’s biggest names, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, boxing legend Jack Dempsey and humorist Will Rogers. An American Café menu, $188.50 in Confederate money and other forms of currency, and a program of the Little Theater play The Drunkard are also in the capsule.

Other items show the humorous side of the old Taylor residents of Taylor. There's a check made out for $100 by Frank I. Fisher dated for 2035, plus a letter from Georgetown sheriff Louis Lowe with an inscription that reads, “When this is read, I will be dead.”

For now, the anticipation builds. City officials hope to open the time capsule during one of Taylor’s fall outdoor festivals. After that, items will be on display at the town's new City Hall.