Century-old time capsule items revealed at the Christian County Courthouse

Local News

CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. — A rainy, yet historic celebration at the Christian County Courthouse on Saturday, October 23, as the community got a first chance to see what was inside the century-old time capsule. 

Its existence was just discovered in 2010, marking exactly 100 years since the courthouse was built on Ozark square. 

Christian County officials did not know the time capsule existed until a local historian found a photo from the Ozark square in 1920. 

A new time capsule will soon take its place, but not before folks could first come together and take a peek into Christian County’s past. 

“And so finally in 1920, they had the laying of the cornerstone, northeast corner of the square, and in that cornerstone, they ultimately placed the time capsule that you see here and the items that were in it,” Local historian Wayne Glenn told attendees at the History on the Square event inside the courthouse Saturday. 

Glenn was the person who discovered a time capsule was likely hidden within the walls of the Christian County Courthouse. 

A newspaper article later confirmed his suspicion. 

“Wayne Glenn was the one who had found the newspaper article referencing it from 100 years ago, in 2020. He had discovered this and said, ‘Hey, you know, there’s a time capsule at the corner of the courthouse here in Christian County,’ and we didn’t know about it,” says Shannon Mawhiney, President of the Christian County Museum and Historical Society. 

The discovery sparked a year-long exploration. 

Where exactly was the time capsule? And how could crews retrieve it? 

Richard Teague / Building & Maintenance Supervisor: 

“It could have been at the cornerstone, it could have been at the original flag pole, or it could have been in the crawl space of this building,” says Richard Teague, the county’s Building and Maintenance Supervisor. 

Teague says it took all three tries and some serious technology, but by January 2021, crews found a void in the cornerstone’s concrete. 

“They extracted the time capsule over 3 or 4 days and at that point, we scheduled to open it and that brought it to here,” says Teague. 

The time capsule’s contents prove their age. They include several coins, hand-written documents, masonic relics, and a bible. 

In the coming weeks, a new capsule will take its place. This time – filled with familiar items. 

“It’s been a really interesting process to see what everybody feels is important to show to people in 100 years from Christian County about what our lives are like right now,” says Mawhiney. 

Pieces from the present day will be left by folks who likely cannot picture a world in 2121, yet still leave their story for the next generation to find. 

“100 years ago, the world was different. And 100 years from now, it’s gonna be even more different,” says Hosea Bilyeau, the Western Commissioner for Christian County. 

The 1920 time capsule items will be on display in the Christian County Courthouse rotunda from now on. 

You can also see photos of the items online through the Missouri State University Archives.  

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