Time Capsule Retrieved From Base of St. Louis' Confederate Monument

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Mark Trout, right, the president of the Missouri Civil War Museum, examines a time capsule that was stowed for more than a century at the base of St. Louis' Confederate monument. - PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • Mark Trout, right, the president of the Missouri Civil War Museum, examines a time capsule that was stowed for more than a century at the base of St. Louis' Confederate monument.

Workers removing the final pieces of the base of the Confederate monument in Forest Park this morning made a find — a time capsule concealed within the poured concrete.

Although the century-old monument had already been fully removed yesterday, workers remained on the site for several hours today searching for a box they knew was there.

Mark Trout, director of the Missouri Civil War Museum, was on site in work clothes as crews lifted a small black box out of the pit at the base of the monument at 12:27 p.m.

Trout said that the museum was working off records it had obtained from the monument's original owners, the United Daughters of the Confederacy. That group recently bequeathed the monument to Trout's organization in order to preserve it, usurping the city's removal efforts. (A lawsuit pushed the museum's view that it was the legal owner; the city announced Monday it had settled the suit, giving the museum the monument with the caveat that it not be displayed in St. Louis city or county.)

And as for those records mapping out the location of the time capsule — Trout said those were records the city did not have.

The museum director said his organization would open the box at a fundraiser in August for its Civil War Preservation Fund. Any money raised would help finance its Civil War projects, including preservation of the 32-foot shaft.

PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
Removing the box intact was no small feat. It took two heavy construction drills to blast into the concrete base around it, followed by a large handheld saw.

Trout said his organization knows what a couple of the items inside are, thanks to the records it obtained from the Daughters of the Confederacy. He did not disclose what they were and noted that there may be other items in the box as well.

Trout said he will not open the box before the event.

The monument is now gone and its concrete base, too, has been smashed and taken away in a dump truck. The museum has not yet announced where it will store the monument.

And it's possible the opening of the time capsule could be something of a bust. Workers found water in the hole where the base used to be, and the box did not appear to be watertight.

PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • PHOTO BY DANNY WICENTOWSKI


Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com



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