The Missouri Civil War Museum paid for the removal of a 38 ft. Confederate memorial last week, and a time capsule was located inside.
The memorial was erected in St. Louis’s Forest Park in 1914, nearly 50 years after the end of the Civil War, and it has been a subject of controversy ever since.
The museum and the City of St. Louis reached an agreement in court concerning the monument’s demolition, agreeing that the monument will be held in storage before being reconstructed at a battlefield, cemetery, or civil war museum outside of St. Louis county.
The fact that the memorial was displayed in a public park was seen by many as supportive of the confederacy, and objections over the years culminated in its final stages of deconstruction on Thursday.
Fox News reports:
Thursday was the final phase of deconstruction, which included the search for the time capsule, sealed in the monument more than a century ago.
[…] “As we were jackhammering around, we vibrated it. It popped loose,” said Mark Trout, director of the Missouri Civil War Museum.
Trout said they found a concrete tablet covering a small underground pit in the monument’s foundation. The pit contained the time capsule.
“It was like Indiana Jones. Lifted it up and there was the box,” he said.
It was waterlogged but still sealed, Trout said.
The box will be unsealed privately in the next few days. The contents will be publicly revealed at a fundraiser for the Missouri Civil War Museum.
What’s inside the box is already suspected, as archives presumably document most of its contents.
Fox News continues:
Archives show it contains documents from the Daughters of the Confederacy, which turned over ownership of the monument to the museum. Archives also show it contains at least one other item.
“We know the last thing put in the box was a magazine place in there by one of the soldiers of General Pickett’s (Confederate) division at Gettysburg; the famous ‘Pickett’s Charge’,” Trout said. “He held it up at the ceremony saying, ‘Hey look, we’re in the magazine. Put this in the box.’ When we open that box the first thing laying on top should be the ‘Star’ magazine that the soldier placed there.”
There may also be war medals and perhaps something to mark the controversy that has shadowed the monument from its construction and dedication in 1914. Opponents then didn’t want it Forest Park either, but took the high ground.
“Their exact words were, ‘Let them build them as wide as they want, as deep as they want, and as tall as they want. They will stand as milestones to see how great the Republic has come from the dark days of civil war,’” Trout said. “Those were the men who fought these men and they had that take on it.”
Finally revealed after more than 100 years, the contents of the box will certainly captivate history buffs, for and against the removal of the memorial.