Paul Hayne School time capsule
The Paul Hayne School time capsule was a lead casket deposited behind the cornerstone of the Paul Hayne School at a dedication ceremony on November 3, 1885. School children marched to the site from all over the city, "waving banners and mottoes." The laying of the cornerstone was conducted "with appropriate ceremonies," by Senior Grand Warren William Atkins of the Grand Lodge of Alabama. Mayor and Birmingham Board of Education president A. O. Lane also delivered an address.
The cornerstone was removed and time capsule retrieved during the demolition of the vacant school building. As wreckers neared the base of the building's walls, the Birmingham Board of Education made plans to invite the Birmingham Historical Society and former principals of the school to participate in opening the capsule. Members of the board speculated that they would probably find "an old newspaper", with business manager Fred Kelly offering that he'd heard there was a $5 gold piece there, and vice president William Christian hoping that the builders had observed the custom of sealing a bottle of fine brandy inside.
Historical Society president Hill Ferguson presided at the opening of the time capsule during a Board of Education meeting on Friday March 18, 1955. The sealed box was found to contain the following well-preserved artifacts:
- The Birmingham Evening Chronicle (November 3, 1885)
- The Birmingham Age (November 1 & November 3, 1885)
- The Southern Mining & Manufacturing Journal
- a packet of blank forms and reports from Birmingham City Schools
- a blank Birmingham High School diploma
- lists of students at all city schools
- a collection of business and calling cards, letterhead and envelopes, some signed
- an L & N Railroad telegraph blank
- a blank City of Birmingham building permit
- a mathematical equation
- eight marbles
- an 1884 nickel, an 1854 quarter, and a foreign coin
- a screwdriver
- two shoe button hooks
- a cigar from Solomon V. Levi Co.
- a copy of the speech delivered by William Atkins
The time capsule and its contents were given to the Birmingham Public Library for display. The cigar was presented to William Christian, who was absent at the meeting.
- "Proceedings of the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alabama" (1886) Montgomery: W. D. Brown & Co., p. 11
- "What's Inside Cornerstone Of Old Hayne School?" (February 5, 1955) Birmingham Post-Herald - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
- "City will get a look into past soon" (February 6, 1955) The Birmingham News ibid.
- "Paul Hayne Cornerstone Is Opened" (March 19, 1955) Birmingham Post-Herald ibid.
- "Paul Hayne mementos to be displayed" (March 20, 1955) The Birmingham News, p. 3. ibid.