MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A time capsule was opened in Maplewood, New Jersey on Saturday, where it was hidden more than a century ago.

The sound of a drill on an old, dusty metal box is hardly enough to draw a crowd of hundreds to the Maplewood library on a Saturday morning, but it wasn’t just any box, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported. The mysterious box containing a time capsule, marked 1836 to 1898, was discovered at the site of an old church on Boyden Avenue.

Inside was a snapshot of the 19th century preserved to near perfection, including a copy of the Newark Evening News — on paper worn but not tattered. There was also a copy of the New Testament, four pennies and nickel, which used to go far, as well as fliers from a time before cellphones or Facebook.

What’s inside the capsule was a reminder of just how much has changed in the last century. In fact, developers only stumbled upon it because they were demolishing the Hilton Methodist church that had placed it there, making room for an apartment complex.

“I asked the demolition contractor to please remove the cornerstone carefully,” developer Mark Carelli said. “We saw there was a metal box cut into the bottom of it, and at that point, I knew there was something in it.”

One thing that certainly has not been lost with time is a sense of curiosity about one’s past.

“It’s from such a long time ago, and it would be really cool if you could see something that was like from 1898,” 9-year-old Ayla Katz said.

Among the dusty papers and rusty coins was more than a mere display of history. It was a newfound appreciation for a hometown.

Town officials plan to encase the items and put them on display for the public.


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