Time capsule hidden in wall of California lighthouse gives ‘fascinating’ glimpse into city’s history


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A wealthy piece of historical past was hidden behind a wood plank inside a wall of a century-old lighthouse in California. A building crew uncovered a decades-old time capsule throughout a restoration undertaking final month at Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore in Marin County.

Whereas eradicating some inside paneling to see if there was any structural injury to the lighthouse, employees noticed an outdated wood field with the names G.W. Jaehne and H. W. Miller — the lighthouse keeper in cost and second assistant, respectively — inscribed on the entrance with the date August 1929. Inside, there was a stack of “fascinating” outdated problems with the San Francisco Examiner and the since-shuttered The Defender, a publication for Marin and Sonoma Counties.

“These newspapers have been actually an surprising bonus for us,” John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation and useful resource training for Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore, advised Fox Information. “It is actually putting to see a number of the points that dominated the information again in 1929 which are nonetheless with us at the moment.”


The way forward for Hamilton Air Drive Base, a debate on immigration reform, potential cupboard members for the Hoover administration, zeppelin air journey and a go to from aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart have been only a few of the matters that dominated headlines at the moment.

Workers spotted an old wooden box with the names G.W. Jaehne and H. W. Miller — the lighthouse keeper in charge and second assistant.

Staff noticed an outdated wood field with the names G.W. Jaehne and H. W. Miller — the lighthouse keeper in cost and second assistant.
(Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore/NPS)

“There’s one thing highly effective about holding historical past in your arms. So putting how the problems that dominated the entrance pages in 1929 occupy us nonetheless,” Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore commented on a Thursday Fb put up.

The enduring lighthouse has stood tall on a cliff overseeing California’s coast since 1870. It was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1975 and landed within the arms of the Nationwide Park Service years later, in 1978. Greater than 2 million folks go to the lighthouse — which boasts a big lens made up of 1,032 crystal items — annually, Dell’Osso mentioned. The park official was shocked the papers weren’t found till now.

“There’s one thing highly effective about holding historical past in your arms.”

— Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore

“The Level Reyes lighthouse has confronted harsh climate. There’s fog 200 days out of the yr and we have clocked 133 mile-per-hour — hurricane-level wind speeds,” he mentioned, noting there have been a number of restoration tasks by the years. “At first, I known as [the finding] a gentle pleasure. They’re outdated papers. However if you get there … they’re in darn good condition. They 90 years outdated.”

Dell’Osso mentioned he is proven the outdated papers to journalists within the San Francisco Bay Space, and each time he flips the pages he is impressed.

“I am seeing one thing new each time,” he defined. “It is fascinating to see a number of the names of individuals in these articles which are nonetheless with us at the moment. These generations of households are nonetheless right here.”

A photo of the copy of The Defender's Feruary 1929 issue.

A photograph of the copy of The Defender’s Feruary 1929 problem.
(Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore/NPS)

The $5 million undertaking to revive the Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore, together with the historic lighthouse that is dubbed “one of many West Coast’s most spectacular whale watching spots,” started over the summer season. It is anticipated to wrap up in April 2019. However earlier than it does, Dell’Osso mentioned park officers are planning to insert a time capsule of their very own behind the brand new partitions.

“We wish to put our personal time capsule collectively,” he mentioned. “It’s going to be fascinating to see how that information may get interpreted.”


Over the following few months, Dell’Osso mentioned employees will hold their eyes peeled for different potential gems hiding behind the partitions, although they will not break something down simply to seek for potential  “treasure.”

“Who is aware of what else could possibly be ready for us behind these partitions,” he added. “It is unlikely we’ll discover the rest, but when any extra wooden paneling has to come back off, we’ll actually be holding our eyes open.”

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