In a snowy outdoor ceremony on Sept. 20, 1875, Boulder town officials and members of the Masonic Grand Lodge placed a small tin box with nearly 50 items in the cornerstone of what would become Old Main. The cornerstone — known as the building’s setting stone — was located on the northeast corner at the transition between the stone foundation and its brick walls.
“The ceremony of today is not one of novelty to dazzle or deceive,” said Webster D. Anthony, the grand master of the Grand Lodge, at the ceremony. “It signifies peace, prosperity, growth in knowledge and social refinement.”
The time capsule contained 12 newspapers, eight coins and a Colorado business directory and statutes book, among other small items.
The coins range in date from the early 1800s to 1875. All are American coins with the exception of a 1863 2 Öre from Sweden featuring King Carl XV.
Chancellor William Baughn and Alumni Association executive director Richard Emerson removed the time capsule in September 1985. Another box was placed in the cornerstone with memorabilia from 1985 to be opened in 2075.
Today, the coins and the other time capsule items are kept at the CU Heritage Center, located on the third floor of Old Main.
Photos by Mona Lambrecht, CU Heritage Center