The April 16, 2019 Reno Gazette Journal included an article about the discovery and opening of an 1872 time capsule containing Carson City
and San Francisco silver dollars. -Editor
Artifacts recovered from an 1872 time capsule stashed in the cornerstone of a demolished Masonic lodge in Reno include silver dollars minted in
Carson City and San Francisco, and a piece of wood from Sutter's Mill where the discovery of gold sparked the California Gold Rush.
The Reno Masonic Lodge was built along the railroad tracks when Ulysses S. Grant was president shortly after the Comstock Lode of gold and silver
was struck in Virginia City.
The cornerstone was laid on Oct. 15, 1872, a block west of where now sits the famous arch over the main casino drag proclaiming Reno “The Biggest
Little City in the World.” A year later, Jacob Davis, a Reno tailor with a shop a block away, patented the first pair of copper-riveted jeans with
Levi Straus & Co.
“These materials have been sealed in this time capsule for 147 years,” said Catherine Magee, the director of the Nevada Historical Society and art
conservator who lead the excavation of the time capsule.
“Reno was a tough little commercial town,” she said. “This lot was on the bustling corner of Commercial Row across from the railroad
The lodge's bottom floor housed a dry goods and grocery store for decades.
Some papers in the box were waterlogged, but once restored Magee said they'll be able to read pages from the Nevada State Journal, Reno
Crescent, Carson Appeal, Sacramento Union, San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner.
In addition to the 1872 silver dollars, the capsule included a Mexican dollar, an English quarter shilling and two American 3-cent pieces. There's
a silver specimen from a mine in White Pine County near the Utah line, the Constitution of the Masonic Grand Lodge and the names of all the officers
of the state of Nevada and Washoe County, as well as members of the California Legislature, 1871-72.
“Materials in a time capsule are meant to give the discoverers a window through time into what was happening at the time of the encapsulation as
well as what was deemed important by the people who were placing them in the time capsule,” Magee said.
“It means much more than one piece, one item taken out of context,” she said. “For example, the Mexican dollar would simply be an old coin. The
fact these coins were chosen to be included tells something about the cultural ties the Masons thought were important.”
To read the complete article, see:
Reno's 1872 time capsule: Silver
dollars, wood from Sutter's Mill, harmonica inside
Wayne Homren, Editor
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