Armory time capsule being sent to Olympia for cleaning

A time capsule placed behind the cornerstone of Aberdeen’s Armory in the 1920s will be opened soon, but not officially for the public yet. Parks and Recreation Director Stacie Barnum delivered the capsule to document experts at the Washington State Archives in Olympia on last week for inspection and cleaning before the contents are revealed to the public at a date to be determined.

The time capsule was salvaged along with other items of historical significance to the city during the October demolition of the Armory, which was gutted by fire in June, 2018. Barnum said the lid was loose after recovery and that items inside including a photograph, book, newspaper clipping and other documents appeared to be in good condition.

The time capsule was likely placed by Masons at or around the time of the Armory’s dedication on July 4, 1922, said Dann Sears, longtime former director and later archivist and conservator of the Aberdeen Museum of History.

A story about the dedication published in The Daily World on that day said, “Officers of the grand lodges of Masons of the state of Washington performed the ceremonies with Bishop Keator, a member of the order, its orator. Grouped about the open air grandstand were members of the Masonic bodies of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Montesano.”

During his speech that day, Keator told the crowd that the signers of the Declaration of Independence, with the exception of four, were Masons. “It was proper therefore that the ceremonies of the day in connection with the dedication of the armory should be conducted by Masons,” the newspaper article stated.

“With Old Glory … floating over the grandstand and also from the flagstaffs of the armory,” Keator ended his speech by saying, “It is up to every man and every woman to make democracy safe for the world. … Let us resolve as citizens of this great republic to stand firm for the right and the principles for which our flag signifies. Let us see to it that no man ever tears this flag down.”