Public statues dedicated to memorializing the Confederacy of the Civil War and its soldiers are being dismantled in certain cities in the wake of debate about what they represent for the South and the country. In the midst of the controversy, a 102 year old time capsule was found deep beneath a statue in St. Louis, Missouri that depicted a family with a soldier as he heads off to battle. Fox2Now St. Louis was on the scene for the first look at the capsule.
The Confederate Memorial in Forest Park was home to the 32-foot-granite statue known as "The Angel of the Spirit of the Confederacy," sculpted by George Julian Zolnay. The memorial was dedicated in 1914. Mark Trout, executive director of the Missouri Civil War Museum says the copper time capsule was buried in the middle of the bottom of the monument about a month before it was completed. He said historical documents detailed its location, with organizers likely picking the spot that would only expose the capsule if the monument was completely destroyed for some reason in the future. Trout says, "We knew it was in there somewhere, so we were careful as we chipped away at something like 40 tons of concrete until we got to the very bottom."
After the time capsule was unsealed, workers found a stone tablet that read, "On this spot, a monument will be erected in memory of the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy." When the capsule is opened sometime in the near future, Trout expects to find documents, a magazine with an article about the monument, as well as a letter to whomever would discover the capsule.
The city of St. Louis ruled that the statue needed to be removed, but the Missouri Civil War Museum challenged the decision in a lawsuit over ownership of the statue. The two sides reached a compromise where the museum agreed to pay for the monument's removal and preservation until a permanent location can be found at another Civil War park or museum outside of St. Louis.