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Unexpected discovery provides opportunity to add to capsule
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A time capsule and its contents were on display during a recent McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. Pictured, from left, with the items are board members Rachel Kirby, Steve Harvey, Vice Mayor Ryle Chastain, Mayor Ben Newman, Everett Brock, Mike Neal and Kate Alsbrook. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Items in a 50-year-old time capsule discovered recently inside the exterior concrete wall of McMinnville City Hall are on display via the city’s website. 

“I took the time capsule to Magness Library and staff there cataloged the contents, scanned and took pictures of everything,” said McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman. “Everything was placed on a flash drive. People can go onto the city’s website and view the items.”

The city’s website is www.mcminnvilletn.gov and the items can be viewed by clicking on “Time Capsule Contents March 2020.”

Workers from Waymon Hale Construction found the time capsule March 5 during repairs to the building. It was placed there in 1968 during the building’s construction.

Items were on display during a recent McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting with specific instructions to not touch a 1902 Southern Standard edition donated to the time capsule by Cowan Oldham due to its rarity and delicate condition.

“Brad Walker (Magness Library director) says he knows of only four of those newspapers in existence,” said Newman. “This would be number five so it is very rare. It’s also very delicate, as you can tell. Brad and his staff did scan the pages. Some of the neatest things are some of the old ads in there. Some of the buildings are still around today, but some of them are not.”

Within the 118-year-old newspaper edition is a write-up about and drawing of the old Opera House. 

“McMinnville can boast of having one of the handsomest opera houses in the state,” it said. “It has a seating capacity for five or six hundred … McMinnville is a good show town and some of the best theatrical and musical attractions in the United States have been booked for the coming season.” 

The opera house was built in 1888 and was destroyed in March 2008 when a fire erupted leveling that building. 

Also featured was the Bostick Bros. Drug Store established in 1895. J.P. Bostick entered the “drug business” in 1875. T.K. Bostick joined the business in 1884. “Prescriptions a specialty,” but also offered were stationery, wall paper, paints, oils, cigars, tobacco, and fancy drug sundries. Most would recognize the building depicted as the old City Drug. It was destroyed by fire in 2011.

The time capsule will be placed back into the wall with a few additions. Newman said he wants to include the Southern Standard newspaper that featured the time capsule’s discovery, pictures of downtown courtesy of the Standard, and a written correspondence from the city of McMinnville. 

A plaque will be placed once work to the building is complete.