Silver Spring Historical Society digs up time capsule
Opening part of Montgomery County Heritage Days
Area residents gathered at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station in Silver Spring on Saturday to witness the opening of a time capsule buried by a fraternity in 1975.
"We will all either be appalled or delightfully satisfied," joked Jerry McCoy, president of the Silver Spring Historical Society, as he prepared to open the small tin bandage box covered in black electrical tape, which, for decades, was beneath Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 658 on Wayne Avenue.
Workers found the box while removing the cornerstone of the building in preparation for demolition.
Onlookers braced themselves as McCoy unraveled the tape. But when he opened the box, all that was inside was a stack of dusty dollar bills left by the Silver Spring fraternity. One by one, McCoy counted 12 dollar bills, each one dated April 26, 1975, and each one signed by a different member of the fraternity.
The capsule was buried in the same era that the debauchery of "Animal House" was portrayed on the silver screen. McCoy said he could "envision these guys sitting at the bar" as they sealed the tin box.
At this point, the bills are "a history mystery that the Silver Spring Historical Society will pursue with vigor," McCoy said.
A current member of Loyal Order of the Moose, Frank Courtney, was snapping pictures of the relics.
"It's a mystery to me," said Courtney, a member since 1990.
Courtney guessed the past officers might have received the money during a fundraiser.
The opening of the time capsule was part of the 13th annual Montgomery County Heritage Days weekend. Among other things, residents came to view model trains and listen to Piedmont Blues guitarist Rick Franklin as part of the weekend.
Piedmont Blues is a genre that surfaced in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina in the 1920s and 30s. Franklin was playing a 1929 National Reso-Phonic guitar as Nick Sklias' trains made their way around the room. In the corner was a scale model of the railroad station and downtown Silver Spring.
"I've loved trains ever since I was a kid," said Sklias.
Sklias received his first train as a Christmas present from his father when he returned from World War II.
The Silver Spring railroad station is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1945 on an earlier station's foundation, it is Montgomery County's only 20th century railroad passenger station. Until 2000, the station actively connected residents to destinations like St. Louis and Chicago.