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Time Capsule Contents Revealed

The City of Buffalo, along with The Buffalo History Museum and The Buffalo Arts Commission, have announced the contents of a time capsule that was recently dug up by contractor Mark Cerrone’s team on the 500 block of Main Street in Downtown Buffalo (see back story). It turns out that the capsule dated back all the way to 1920 – the same year that “The Hiker,” a Spanish-American war monument, was dedicated.

“The time capsule shows a glimpse into the past,” said Mayor Brown, noting that the time capsule was found during the redevelopment of the city’s effort to return two-way traffic to downtown Buffalo. “While Buffalo is on the move, with over $4.3 billion in new economic development activity underway, a piece of Buffalo’s history is being revealed. It’s interesting to see what city residents in 1920 thought would be interesting and important to us.”

Included in the time capsule were:

  • An American flag
  • Front pages of newspapers, each dated May 29, 1920
  • A Commemorative Program of the Dedication Ceremony
  • First Annual Report City Planning Committee
  • The Booklet, The Hiker

“The Hiker (New York City sculptor Allen G. Newman 1875-1940) stood in contemplation for over eight decades, his parcel kept secret and specifically left for us to unveil,” stated Executive Director Melissa Brown. “The Buffalo History Museum understands how time capsules intrigue and capture the imagination. We nurture curiosity through the 300,000 artifacts we safely keep and share.”

Professional conservators from the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department first took a look at the contents before the salvageable items were delivered to the history museum. The plan is to take the original contents, add some items from 2014, and put them back into another time capsule (the first time capsule was damaged and the contents were not in good shape), upon which time they will be returned to the exact spot where they were dug up… maybe to be rediscovered some day when Main Street is returned back to a carless pedestrian thoroughfare with lightrail.

Photo: Mayor Byron Brown, along with DPW Commissioner Steve Stepniak, The Buffalo History Museum Executive Director Melissa Brown, Catherine Gillespie of the Buffalo Arts Commission and others, revealed the contents today of a time capsule, dating back to May 15, 1920.


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • UncleMonty

    “It’s interesting to see what city residents in 1920 thought would be interesting and important to us.”
    based on the items included, I’d argue that the contents were what city OFFICIALS in 1920 thought would be interesting and important to us.  And it’s not very interesting.

  • ZennFemm

    Forgive me but that is the most unimaginative roster of time capsule contents…ever!

  • hockeyhips83

    UncleMonty  Agreed.    
    I am interested however what the headlines are/were at the time of the prints.

  • micahh64

    People in 1920 can’t be expected to find the exact same things interesting/exciting/imaginative — or uninteresting/unexciting/unimaginative — as we do today. . .


  • hockeyhips83

    Damn! at least let there be a cask barrel sealed containing 100yo aged prohibition scotch i could bid on!  
    guess city officials will expect to be receiving reports of locals tearing up other old statues in hopes of finding a capsule of valuable goods now that we see how boring people were in the 20s.

  • MichaelJarosz

    Guess my green stamp book will never be filled….

  • UncleMonty

    hockeyhips83   You can probably view all of those items, including the newspaper headlines in an afternoon at the Central Library’s Grosvenor Room!  Cheers!

  • 300miles

    Was this time capsule not discovered during all the construction in the early ’80s?

  • gfreemang

    Wow, that’s lame. They could have at least put a laptop in the time capsule. How unimaginative of them 😐

  • Stateofmind

    Is Byron really trying to take credit for the “$4.3B in economic activity”? This has happened in spite of, not because, him. 
    He’s kind of been like the time capsule–just been unearthed to see the good things happening after all these years.

  • BfloGal

    Love that they are returning the items and adding some from our time to the time capsule to be discovered in the future!