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German Time Capsule Discovered In Logan Square Church Demolition

By Paul Biasco | September 20, 2016 5:31am
 Logan Square Time Capsule
Logan Square Time Capsule
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LOGAN SQUARE — A time capsule discovered in a Logan Square church is giving researchers a glimpse into a German community in the neighborhood in the early 1900s.

The capsule was embedded in a cornerstone of the former St. John United Church of Christ on Friday as crews worked to wrap up demolition of the building.

The building, which is being torn down to make way for condominiums, dates to 1910.

The crew tearing down the building at 2442 W. Moffat St. anticipated finding the capsule for weeks after being tipped off by Eric Nordstrom, an urban archaeologist and founder of Urban Remains.

Nordstrom and the construction crew made their way to one of the last pieces of the building, the cornerstone marked 1910, and found the box inside.

It contained just four items: a two-page handwritten letter in German, a fold-out pamphlet that was stuck to a newspaper below it and disintegrated, a German newspaper and a pink booklet from 1882.

"The point is, the handwritten letter is intact, so we kind of have their voice recorded," Nordstrom said. "That's the biggest part."

All the documents are in German, and as of Monday still were being translated.

It's unclear what the significance of the booklet from 1882 is, but Nordstrom said he believes it's linked to the founding of the church.

"Research needs to be done," he said. "It's interesting that they took a piece from 1882 to include."

This is the third time capsule that Nordstrom has found in the walls of a Chicago church facing demolition in this year alone.

In March he discovered a capsule at a former church on Adams Street near the United Center that contained four Bibles.

In May he discovered a time capsule in a slab of limestone in the wall of what was once St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Humboldt Park. That box contained an 1889 Saturday evening issue of the Chicago Daily News.

RELATED: Time Capsule From 1889 Discovered In Demolished Humboldt Park Church

A handwritten letter in that box disintegrated after being removed.

Nordstrom said he's beginning to learn more about the capsules and attempting to consider the order and placement of objects that are placed in them.

"Now that I've opened multiple capsules, I've really begun to think a lot more about it," he said. "Before I didn't; I focused on the construction of the box and trying to decipher the contents."

All three boxes are being stored at Nordstrom's private museum, BLDG. 51, but eventually may become part of an exhibition.

"I just wanted to make sure [the capsule] was taken out and documented properly," he said.

RELATED: Logan Square Church Torn Down, Brick By Brick, For Condo Project​

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