1887 time capsule under Virginia’s Robert E. Lee statue opened

An 1887 time capsule found at the base of a Virginia state of Robert E. Lee was opened Wednesday, revealing items including an almanac, a pair of books, a cloth envelope and a coin.

The time capsule, found Dec. 17 by workers dismantling the pedestal under the Richmond statue of the Confederate general, was opened Wednesday by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The lead container, believed to have been placed in the pedestal on Oct. 27, 1887, was found to be holding items that included an 1875 almanac, two withered books, a cloth envelope and a coin.

Chelsea Blake, a conservator with Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources, led the team that spent several hours working to open the box Wednesday. The team said the lead was heavily corroded and partly covered in mortar.

Officials said the contents of the time capsule were wet, and steps are now being taken to ensure they are properly preserved.

The 12-ton statue of Robert E. Lee was removed in September after Northam ordered the state’s Confederate monuments to be dismantled.