Time capsule surfaces at Central State Hospital construction site

Footage showing the burial of the time capsule.

Demolition crews working on the old Central State Hospital site unearthed a surprise.  It was something no one expected to find. 

"The demolition contractors just demolished a corner of the building and found the cornerstone and this copper tube filled with this material and opened it up and said, 'oh my gosh, we found something here,’" said Indianapolis City Project Manager Derek Naber. 

It was a time capsule.

"It said that we placed this time capsule to be found on the day of the building’s demolition of the Bahr building and that’s why we found it," said Naber.

Inside the time capsule are memories from 1958.  A printed program of the cornerstone ceremony on July 22, 1958, a program of the centennial anniversary in 1948 and a reprint of a 1952 article by Dr. Max A. Bahr entitled "My Fifty Years of Psychiatry."  There were pictures including a glossy print aerial view of the Central State Hospital in 1958.  Renderings, press releases, a copy of a speech from Central State Hospital Superintendent C. L. Williams and an interview with Indiana Governor Harold Handley were also discovered. 

"We also found things relating to the culture of the times of the year 1958.  Three different newspapers showing the front pages that day.  We also found radio recordings from two of the radio stations in town," said Naber.

Ironically, these audio and visual treasures were discovered 57 years to the day after the cornerstone ceremony.  A surprise discovery which now provide a glimpse at what life was like in 1958.

The materials can be viewed by the public at the Indiana Medical History Museum at 3045 West Vermont Street. 

City planners have developed 50 of the 150 acres, investing more than $62 million in the property.  

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