As construction crews were demolishing the concrete courtyard in front of Anson County’s courthouse on June 11, they discovered a time capsule at the base of the Confederate soldier statue. Junipers had been planted around the base of the statue, and over the years had grown over the time capsule, concealing it from view.
“It was put there for the county’s bicentennial [in 1949] and isn’t supposed to be opened until October 2049,” said Jeff Waisner, director of parks and recreation and facilities maintenance for the county. “We tried to move it and couldn’t get it out.”
Waisner said he and other county officials are very curious about what may be inside the time capsule, but will respect the wishes of those who placed the capsule, and will wait 37 more years to attempt to open it.
He added that county officials knew there was a time capsule by the statue, but did not know its exact location until last Monday.
According to information provided by Anson historian Steve Bailey, the placement of the time capsule was just part of the “massive local level celebration” held on the first week of October, 1949. The celebration featured a carnival with rides and games, a parade, street dance, a crowning of “Miss Anson,” a beard judging contest, visits from the governor and secretary of agriculture, and an open house at the courthouse.
“Downtown store windows were virtually museums as individuals and groups throughout the county displayed artifacts and memorabilia,” the article provided by Bailey states. “The oldest item was an Indian burial urn, dating back some 600 to 800 years. This had been discovered on the James Teal plantation.”
Courthouse renovation update
The courtyard was ripped up to make way for a new concrete base. The sidewalks around the 100-year-old courthouse have already been replaced or are in the process of being replaced as part of a $1 million renovation project.
Once the courtyard is finished, more greenery will be planted around the statue’s base, Waisner said.
All of the courthouse’s 137 windows have been replaced as part of the renovation, and new doors were put in last week.
“The final outside touches should be done in the next few weeks,” Waisner added.
The renovation started July 11, 2011, and is expected to take a few more months to complete.