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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2014 Archives > March 2014 > Mayor Brown Reveals Contents Of 1920 Time Capsule

Mayor Brown Reveals Contents Of 1920 Time Capsule

The time capsule was found by workers as they were digging up part of the 500 Block of Main Street as part of the ‘Returning Cars to Main Street’ project in Buffalo

March 28, 2014  -  Mayor Byron Brown, along with DPW Commissioner Steve Stepniak, The Buffalo History Museum Executive Director Melissa Brown, Catherine Gillespie of the Buffalo Arts Commission and others, revealed the contents today of a time capsule, dating back
to May 15, 1920.  Contractor Mark Cerrone’s team found the sealed copper box on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 in the foundation of “The Hiker” statue, located at Roosevelt Square, where improvements continue as part of the of the redevelopment of the 500-block of Main Street.  


“The time capsule shows a glimpse into the past,” said Mayor Brown, noting that the time capsule was found during the redevelopment of the city’s effort to return two-way traffic to downtown Buffalo.   “While Buffalo is on the move, with over $4.3 billion in new economic development activity underway, a piece of Buffalo’s history is being revealed.  It’s interesting to see what city residents in 1920 thought would be interesting and important to us.”


“The Hiker,” a Spanish-American war monument, was erected in 1920 at Roosevelt Square on Main Street in Buffalo. The recently discovered deteriorated metal box is thought to be from this period, although there was no written record of a time capsule.  When it was opened, the box, which suffered significant water damage, revealed a flag, documents and newspapers from May 29, 1920 the day the statue was dedicated. 

Included in the time capsule were:

  • Front pages of newspapers, each dated May 29, 1920
  • A Commemorative Program of the Dedication Ceremony
  • First Annual Report City Planning Committee
  • The Booklet, The Hiker

“The Hiker stood in contemplation for over eight decades, his parcel kept secret and specifically left for us to unveil,” stated Executive Director Melissa Brown.  “The Buffalo History Museum understands how time capsules intrigue and capture the imagination. We nurture curiosity through the 300,000 artifacts we safely keep and share.”

Upon initial examination by professional conservators from the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department, the contents were found to be water-saturated and moldy. Mayor Brown then requested further examination by The Buffalo History Museum, where salvageable items will be repackaged in a new time capsule. The Museum specialists will document the contents and include items from 2014, before the time capsule is reinstalled along the 500 Block of Main Street, under the Hiker statue.


About "The Hiker" statue

“The Hiker” was created by New York City sculptor Allen G. Newman (1875-1940); he copyrighted it in 1904. For a time it served as the official monument of the United Spanish War Veterans organization. The name "hiker" was the term infantry men used to address one another casually in the 19th century; "Hello, Hiker!" was a common greeting. Buffalo's statue was dedicated on May 29, 1920.

The Buffalo History Museum

The Buffalo History Museum is a private not-for-profit organization tax exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It receives operating support from the County of Erie, the City of Buffalo, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA, a state agency), and from members and friends. The Buffalo History Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

Since its founding in 1862, The Buffalo History Museum has been Western New York’s premier historical organization, serving to collect, research, interpret, and share the Niagara Frontier’s rich history. Its collections include more than 100,000 artifacts, 200,000 photographs, and 20,000 books. The History Museum annually presents a wide array of programs, exhibits, tours, outdoor events, and activities for all ages that utilize many of these resources to tell the stories of both ordinary and extraordinary people of Western New York.