YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It took a number of days, but the mystery of the time capsule at the old Krakusy Hall in Youngstown has finally been resolved.
A small crowd gathered Friday morning as the 77-year-old cornerstone was removed from the building, which is being demolished.
Workers used a sledge hammer and a chisel to carefully chip away the concrete to uncover the small capsule, about the size of a large can of soup.
Inside were U.S. coins from 1939 — the year the hall was built — as well as letters from that time, one hand-written in Polish.
“We were wondering if there was anything there at all, so we’re just very happy to find a piece of history that we can keep, look back upon and build from, lots of anticipation. But we’re very happy today,” said Krakusky Society member Kevin Downs.
As the society’s current president read the letter written in his native language, plans were already being made to safeguard the recovered artifacts.
For now, the recovered artifacts, as well as the old cornerstone, will be kept in a safe place. Members of the Krakusy Society are still hoping to find a new location to build a social hall where the items can eventually be placed on display.
“And then these coins that we found and the letters are going to be framed and put on display so everybody can see what was in there,” said Krakusy Society President Peter Piechuta.
Members say the hall was originally built for about $65,000 — equal to about $1.1 million today. Although the hall was closed after business dried up eight years ago, its demolition has been spurring new interest.
“People were coming down over the last couple days and getting a brick from the building, contacting me about rejoining the society,” Downs said.
That’s giving members of the 113-year-old organization something to looking forward to — finding a new home.
WKBN reached out to Kevin Downs, who provided a translation of the old letter, written in Polish, found in the time capsule. It reads:
“The founders of The Free Polish Krakusy Society, the building committee and all the faithful workers of said society hearby inform you that The Free Polish Krakusy Society was founded on the 3rd day of September, 1903 A.D.
After 36 years of existence in the old hall at 903 Franklin Ave. Youngstown, OH, which hall has proven to be too small and outmoded for our present day needs, we have, therefore in the name of almighty God, started construction in September 1939 A.D. of our new national home, so that with our motto “One for All and All for One,” we may have a proper place to meet and discuss and exchange ideas for the betterment of our Citizenry of Polish Extraction, the affairs of our fatherland and those of our adopted country The United States of America.”