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1901 time capsule pulled from Carnegie library wall

| Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, 1:26 a.m.
Celeste Van Kirk | Trib Total Media
John Malone, president of the Carnegie Free Library Board of Trustees, removes a time capsule, dating backing to 1901, from the outer wall of the library in Connellsville. Susan Nicholson (right) of Connellsville takes a photo of the Sept. 24 event.

A time capsule from 1901 has been removed from the Carnegie Free Library with plans on opening the piece of history next week.

John Malone, president of the Connellsville library's board of trustees, said they first learned about the time capsule when doing research for the library's 110th anniversary.

In the old Daily Courier articles they read, they learned that the time capsule was placed in one of the building's corners upon the erection of the library in July of 1901, Malone said.

However, last year when they were clearing out a shrub along the side of the library facing Pittsburgh Street between the two entrances, they found that a cornerstone didn't match the other cornerstones of the building.

Malone said they brought in metal detectors and discovered there was something located behind the wall.

“We contacted the anthropology and archaeology departments and Mercyhurst University, and they gave us instructions on how to open it,” Malone said.

On Wednesday, Malone was joined by Chelsea Ritenour, Blaine Brooks and Connellsville City Councilman Tom Karpiak, Connellsville School Board Director Gary Wandell and others to drill a hole into the side of the building to view the time capsule with their naked eye.

However, Ritenour told Malone he had the tools to make his way to the artifact to remove it.

Ritenour said it took him nearly three hours to get to the time capsule, which was a soldered aluminum body wrapped in paper. Malone then removed the capsule.

The capsule's surface read “Steel and Iron Aluminum Company,” which is believed to have been in South Connellsville at the time. There was other writing on the surface that wasn't fully deciphered.

“We're going to get the board together and see if when next week we can open it together,” Malone said, adding that he read the capsule most likely contained old coins, knickknacks and documents from that time.

When the capsule was removed, a folded piece of paper fell out, which they won't open until they open the capsule next week, they said.

Contents sticking out from the paper could be seen, though. Contents included what appeared to be a piece of a flag, a metal pin and a ticket or stamp from a railway company.

Malone said along with making the opening to get the time capsule out, Ritenour and Brooks will donate to put a plaque on that corner.

After opening the time capsule, Malone said they plan to put the capsule and the contents on display in the museum in the library.

“That's history, and people in Connellsville should see this stuff,” Malone said.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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