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Opening Of NYC Time Capsule Brings 1914 Into The Present

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 100-year-old time capsule was opened for the first time Wednesday, providing a glimpse into the past.

As CBS 2's Elise Finch reported, the ornate bronze box had been locked up since 1914 and was thought to be one of the country's oldest unopened time capsules.

One historian said the time capsule, created by the Lower Wall Street Business Men's Association, was a way for the captains of industry to celebrate themselves and solidify their place in history as merchants, philanthropists and descendants of revolutionaries.

Opening Of NYC Time Capsule Brings 1914 Into The Present

"They sealed it down on Wall Street, at the foot of Wall Street, in 1914, and then they entrusted into the New York Historical Society," said Nick Yablon, an american history professor and time capsule expert. "And it's remained indoors, unlike some, which are buried underneath statues or under the ground."

The time capsule was supposed to be opened in 1974, but it was forgotten in a storage site until the late 1990s. Since they had already missed the date, historians waited until the 100th year to open it.

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported, when the top came off the box at the New York Historical Society, the musty scent of century-old paper filled the air. Inside were perfectly preserved books and newspapers, medals and a telegram from Gov. Martin Glynn, which read, "May every problem which now engages the attention of New York have found a solution."

"This may be one of those time capsules where they didn't allow everyone to throw in their own personal souvenirs," Yablon said.

One document is thought to be a copy of an important pre-Revolutionary War letter from 1774.

"While it was a loyalist stronghold, there were some patriots here as well that signed documents and petitions that were really supportive of the revolutionary cause," said Valerie Paley of the New York Historical Society.

According to the instructions, now that the box has been opened, the time capsule should be repacked, resealed and reopened in 2074. But there are plans to compile a new time capsule to be placed alongside it and opened in 2114.

A group of high school historian is planning to include earbuds and Lady Gaga tickets, among other items.

"We're just trying to tell them how our everyday lives were," 10th-grader Youssef Abdelzaher said. "Nothing special. What people wore, what people drank, what people ate and things like that. Where we went on every day, how we got there."

"We really are aware of the importance of material culture as we watch it completely change and turn around," 11th-grader Margaret Borozan said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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