104-year-old time capsule found during school demolition: Here’s what was inside

The capsule, buried in 1920, was found while a construction crew was ripping down the front pillars and doors of the school. (Credit: Owatonna Public Schools)

Amid the rubble of a demolition project of a former Minnesota high school, construction workers stumbled upon a treasure frozen in time: a century-old time capsule.

The capsule, buried in 1920 at Owatonna High School in Owatonna, was found while the crew was ripping down the front pillars and doors of the school. 

"We were thrilled to discover that a time capsule had been placed in the cornerstone of the high school," Jeff Elstad, the school district’s superintendent, told FOX Television Stations. "It's always exciting to learn more about the history of our community and the people who had the foresight to build a great school that would serve so many students for generations."

The time capsule was carefully opened during a community event on Monday. Items found inside included a roster of the teachers and administrators at Owatonna Public Schools in 1920, the high school newspaper, three local newspapers, financial statements and more.

1920 time capsule items

Items found inside the time capsule included newspapers and financial statements. (Credit: Owatonna Public Schools)

"While you never know exactly what might be included, many of the items such as newspapers and local history are typical of what is included in a time capsule," Elstad explained, adding, "It was especially fun to discover the items that specifically shared information about the schools at that time.

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The Owatonna High School Museum Committee is currently working with the Steele County Historical Society to dry and preserve the items. They will then determine which items will be displayed at the school and which will go into the historical society's collections.

1920 time capsule opening owatonna high school

The time capsule was opened during a community event on April 22, 2024. (Credit: Owatonna Public Schools)

Elstad said this experience has allowed the community to look back at local history.

"We appreciate the historical significance of the time capsule and are committed to continuing to preserve our history for generations to come," he added.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.