There are countless stories of building renovations revealing a sliver of the past within its crumbling walls, but a 1914 time capsule recently found in an old building in Wilmington, N.C. has uncovered a secret society. The time capsule buried by the fraternal order of the Knights of Pythias was accidentally discovered when a local construction company was updating its office space. Spectrum News Coastal NC was on-site to get the first look at the capsule's contents, which included the Knights' diaries, pictures, postcards of local buildings and coins from that era.
Monteith Construction found the metal box while bringing their office up to fire code and turned it over to the Cape Fear Museum. Curator, Heather Yenco says, "A lot of the material in there looks similar to the things the Masons would have, so it's kind of interesting, if it was a secret society, that that stuff was left in a time capsule for people to find."
John Monteith, the construction company's CEO, says they were drilling into the concrete cornerstone of their building when they noticed something else in the path of the drill. He says there was no indication there was anything buried behind the wall, and no records of any time capsule being hidden there. "We just loved, kind of, the old bones of the building but it was in relatively dire need of renovating and updating, so it was a fun project for us." Monteith says, "This was just completely an added bonus along the way."
Museum officials are excited as well, knowing that if there wasn't a hole drilled into that exact spot in the building, the area's secret society would likely never have been revealed. Monteith says they are currently looking for relatives of those mentioned within the contents of the time capsule.
According to their website, the Order of Knights of Pythias is an international fraternal order that was established in 1864 in Washington, D.C. by Justus H. Rathbone. The Knights still exist in cities across the U.S. and Canada.