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Utah State Capitol

Time Capsule on Display through Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Glimpse into Utah’s Past

The Capitol Cornerstone Time Capsule exhibit is on display outside of the Governor’s Reception Room (Gold Room) in the southwest corner of the 2nd floor. Capitol visitors can view the copper box and its historic contents during regular Capitol building hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Time capsule contents include:

  • a 1913 penny, a 1913 buffalo nickel, a 1902 liberty nickel, a 1909 quarter, an 1892 half dollar, and an 1896 dollar coin
  • 2 photographs from the Capitol Cornerstone Ceremony on April 1914 (when the time capsule was placed)
  • a program of the Laying of the Corner Stone of the Capitol Building
  • Business cards from contractors working on the building
  • LDS Biographical Encyclopedia and Church Chronology by Andrew Jenson
  • a Utah Light and Railway Company Ticket
  • a 2 cent stamp
  • Utah Newspapers from around the date of the ceremony –  April 4, 1914 – Evening Telegram (SLC), Logan Republican, The Salt Lake Herald – Republican, Deseret Evening News, The Provo Post, The Ogden Standard, Salt Lake Tribune, The Journal (Logan City) 

History of the Cornerstone Time Capsule

Governor William Spry positioned the Capitol’s final granite cornerstone on April 4, 1914 at 5 p.m. in front of a throng of thousands of Utahns.

(Governor William Spry) cemented the cap to the corner stone. Rising and with the gleaming trowel still in his hand, the governor announced, ‘I declare the Corner stone of the Utah capitol officially laid.’ During the ceremony, the state industrial school’s band played the Star Spangled Banner. Afterwards the crowd burst into applause.

-Historic Structures Report

With great foresight, the Utah State Capitol Commission curated items to represent Utah’s unique history and culture to be placed inside a copper box and sealed in the cornerstone as a time capsule.

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Photos courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society.

Locating the Copper Capsule

Beginning on September 28, 2016, work began to extract the time capsule from its 102-year enclosure in the west granite cornerstone on the Capitol South Steps. After many hours of complex drilling and careful attention not to damage the box itself, the construction crew was able to remove enough of the granite to free it.

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Photos by Ron Fox, local historian.

On Friday September 30, the copper time capsule was formally removed by Lieutenant Governor Cox, Chair of the Capitol Preservation Board, and Representative Brad Dee, a member of the Capitol Preservation Board.

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Photos by the Salt Lake Tribune.

Opening the Capsule: Capitol Centennial Celebrationtime capsule

“We stand on the shoulders of giants and those who have gone before us, and I hope we appreciate that,” Herbert said before opening the time capsule. Donning safety gear and a smile, Governor Gary Herbert carefully sawed through the copper capsule on Monday, October 3, 2016 to kick off the week-long Capitol Centennial Celebration Open House.


After the lid was cut off, items were removed one by one with the assistance of preservation specialists and laid out on a table.


Time Capsule Contents

“I think we’ve seen significant advancement that has taken place over 100 years,” said Governor Herbert. “You look at the newspapers and the old-fashioned way of doing things, which now with social media, the media has changed dramatically in 100 years. Even our money, our coin, how we buy and spend.”      –Deseret News

Time Capsule Contents close up


Official State of Utah photos.

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