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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Here's what was inside the time capsule found at Orlando's Confederate statue

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 4:13 PM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Cocktail-sized Confederate battle flags. A yellowed book recording minutes of an Ocala convention from the Florida division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And a 1911 edition of the local Daily Reporter-Star detailing how bad health prompted an Orlando man to drown himself in Lake Eola.

These are just some of the items documented by city staff on Tuesday after they opened a time capsule that was located inside the base of the Confederate memorial that was removed from Lake Eola Park in June. The relics inside the rusty tin box were in pretty good condition for being more than a century old.
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Workers found the box among ants and roaches as they were taking apart the "Johnny Reb" statue for its move to the Confederate veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery. When the time capsule was initially discovered, rumors ran rampant about its contents. Greenwood sexton Don Price speculated it might be a whole lot of dust because insects had tunneled their way through the metal into the box, while Patricia Schnurr, a member of the Annie Coleman chapter that commissioned the monument, said the capsule likely contained a Confederate battle flag, Confederate money, a framed picture of Gen. Robert E. Lee and some type of certificate.

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Turns out, Price and Schnurr were both partially right. After the box was opened with a drill, Richard Forbes, the city's historic preservation officer, pulled out items and dusted the dirt off each one in front a crowded media scrum. Aside from the first items described, the time capsule also included deteriorating Confederate currency; small pins with Confederate flag designs; a letter with the 1911 member roster of the Annie Coleman chapter; and two more newspapers from 1911, the Orange County Citizen and the South Florida Sentinel. The Sentinel edition advertised an event at Hotel Altamonte that would feature a dinner of chicken and waffles. Forbes also displayed a print of a painting that was found on top of the time capsule with an inscription regarding Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he expected the time capsule to be full of dust, but was surprised so many of the items were still intact after so long.

"I've been mayor for 15 years and a lot of stuff I do is repetitive year after year, but this is something I've never done," Dyer says.

The Confederate statue was disassembled and removed from downtown Orlando's park after local residents said it was a symbol of racism and white supremacy. The statue was originally installed near what is now the Orlando Public Library in 1911 but was moved in 1917 to Lake Eola after it became a traffic hazard. Schnurr and other members of the United Daughters of Confederacy said the time capsule should be returned to them because the Annie Coleman chapter put it there, but officials say the box and the statue belongs to the city. Although the UDC threatened to sue, Dyer said on Tuesday after the time capsule was opened that the city had not been served with a lawsuit. The mayor adds that the city plans to donate the items to the Orange County Regional History Center.

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

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