Time capsule found at torn-down firehouse

November 7, 2008 7:52:36 AM PST
A time capsule was found inside the cornerstone of a demolished firehouse in Madison, New Jersey. The Star-Ledger reports that inside the sealed metal box, dating back more than a century, was an assortment of goods stored to tell the story of how Madison got its first fire department in 1881.

It included a newspaper page advertising a December 1877 town meeting to discuss the creation of a fire department, floor plans for the first fire building, postcards depicting local landmarks, a coin believed to be an 1860s presidential campaign souvenir for Ulysses Grant and a horseshoe, which historians believe was worn by one of the horses that hauled the fire equipment.

Also in the time capsule was an envelope containing four Indian pennies, dated 1880, 1881, 1900 and 1903 to mark important dates in the construction of the two firehouses. The coins were accompanied by a note, signed by Stewart Burk, believed to have been the firehouse's resident caretaker. The note asked the reader to use the pennies to "have a drink to his memory."

Firefighter Lou DeRosa told the newspaper that the 25-member fire department is now hatching ideas for its own time capsule. They plan to stash away DVDs, videos and photographs, as well as an old-fashioned, hand-written note.

The Madison Historical Society plans to preserve the relics before displaying them at a public place, officials told the paper.

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