Student TripsWashington D.C.

Washington D.C. Time Capsules

MLK Time Capsule

A Martin Luther King Jr. time capsule is buried in Freedom Plaza. Photo

Washington D.C. is a city full of history, legend, and hidden treasures. The more that you learn about the city, the more secrets you uncover. Did you know that the city is full of time capsules? Items were intentionally placed in the city to preserve for future generations. Here are three of them:

Freedom Plaza

Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. Photo

1. Freedom Plaza:  Freedom Plaza is located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th and 14th street, NW and is often used for public gatherings. It was renamed Freedom Plaza from “National Plaza” to honor Martin Luther King Jr., who reportedly wrote his “I Have a Dream Speech” at the nearby Willard hotel. Fittingly, a time capsule containing items from King’s life and accomplishments including a bible, robe, and other relics, was buried in the plaza in 1988. It is scheduled to be opened in 2088. Some of our student travelers will be alive to see it reopened. How exciting! The surface of the plaza depicts the original Pierre L’Enfant plan for the nation’s federal city.

Supreme Court Time Capsule


2. Supreme Court Building: Cornerstones often act as time capsules, holding important relics from the time when they were dedicated. On October 13, 1932, Chief Justice Evan Hughes dedicated the cornerstone of the current Supreme Court Building. Among the items placed in the cornerstone were a copy of the 1932 World Almanac and a photograph of former Chief Justice William Howard Taft. President Taft (1909-1913) later became the 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1921-1930). He was one of the key figures in obtaining funding for the new Supreme Court Building.

Jefferson Memorial Cornerstone

Jefferson Memorial Cornerstone (photo

3. Jefferson Memorial: The cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial also serves as a time capsule. Believe it or not, the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial contains a copy of the Declaration of Independence and a copy of the Constitution! It also contains along The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth written by Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (10 volumes); the 1939 Annual Report of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial commission, the signatures of Franklin D. Roosevelt and members of the Memorial Commission, and copies of the four leading Washington newspapers at the time – Washington Post, Washington Evening Star, Washington Times-Herald, and Washington Daily News.

Have you ever buried a time capsule? What did you put in it?

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