Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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February 1, 2008

History’s mystery? Solved

95-year-old time capsule found at AISD building

Athens Independent School District employees unearthed a time capsule placed in a wall of the soon-to-be demolished Athens Grammar and High School.

The capsule — buried 95 years ago — was found Thursday behind the cornerstone of the building and unearthed Friday. Many residents and former students had talked about the possible existence of the capsule since discussions began about demolishing the historic building last year.

During the December AISD board meeting, business manager Randy Jones told the school board that Mayor Randy Daniel said a time capsule could be found behind the cornerstone on the side of the building. It was originally assumed the cornerstone would be removed by the crew that would demolish the building.

“One of our guys told us his friend had found an article in an old Athens Review listing the items placed in the time capsule,” AISD employee Alan Sifford said.

The article from the Sept. 25, 1913, issue of the Athens Weekly Review said the Masons of Athens had met the day before and performed the “rites of that order in laying the cornerstone.”

With that, Sifford, Adam Bluhm, Travis Langford and Brannon Carnes began searching.

They began by drilling holes around the cornerstone searching for a hollow area.

“We didn’t really know what we were looking for,” Sifford said.

After not having much success with the drilling they decided to attempt approaching the cornerstone from another direction. By Thursday night the mock excavation crew hit something.

“We dug until we hit the side of it last night, and then we went home,” Sifford said.

Friday morning, the men began the tough work of removing the copper container surrounded by cement.

“All of us dreamed about this last night,” Sifford told Jones Friday while they stood in the windowless second-floor classroom where the time capsule was found.

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