New Historian

Story Behind the Time Capsule Uncovered


<![CDATA[The time capsule mystery that has surrounded an Ohio mansion for years seems to have finally been solved. A capsule was found in the Dille House cornerstone in Bellbrook, Ohio and opened by the Bellbrook Historical Society on September 8th. The opening of the time capsule has provided the local community with a unique insight into the town's past. The mansion itself has been demolished to make way for a new construction project. It used to be a prominent landmark in the area, and its story reveals a great deal about broader changes through history. The number of spectators was overwhelming, and the Historical Society was forced to conduct two different presentations to accommodate the number of people that turned up for the opening. Inside the famous metal box there was a New York Times newspaper and the Dayton Daily News newspaper, both of which were dated to 16th May 1937. Other items found inside the box include photographs of the Patterson family, a map of Ohio, a skeleton of a horn toad, a comic strip and a photo of the house under construction. The opening ceremony for the time capsule was conducted in the parking lot of the Bellbrook Presbyterian Church located on Franklin Street. According to Alice Wiseman, a member of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Historical Society, the time capsule measured 12 x 12 x 2 inches and was placed in the Dille Mansion when it was built in 1937. The capsule was offered to Carol Dille, one of the eight children of the mansion's final owners. Carol was allowed to examine the contents closely before they were opened up to the public. Wiseman conducted a short presentation about how the ownership of the land changed hands through the years. According to her reports, Daniel Holmes, Hugh Holmes and Samuel Holmes had purchased the land in 1810 and held onto it for a number of years. In 1832, they sold off about 1.5 acres to the United Presbyterian Church. The land was then passed onto Flora Davisson, before coming into the hands of Robert Patterson Senior in 1926. The land was inherited by Robert Patterson Junior in 1936, and he built the mansion in the following year. The mansion was designed by the famous Ellason Smith, who worked for the Schenck and Williams Architect Company. Ellason was known for his fantastic Tudor style designs. The 77.88 acre property was bought by Charles A. Dille in 1953, and he moved there with his wife and eight children. The house covered about 6202 sq. ft. and the estate included over 7 acres of woods, a swimming pool, barn and three car parking garages. The mansion was built from 6-8 inch limestone, which gave the property a distinct character. Howard Ackerman, a resident of the Sugarcreek Township, stated that the entire time capsule opening process was extremely fascinating. He had the chance to examine the house when it was put up for sale in 2006, and mentioned that it was in a terrible state because of natural damage. The park department secured half of the estate's land, and they plan to open a public park called Sweet Arrow Farm Reserve soon. Locals believe that the opening of the time capsule was a nice way to bring closure to the mansion that was demolished to make way for commercial establishments. It provided a unique connection to a distinct local landmark, and the history of the area as a whole. Every year thousands of time capsules such as this are buried by school children and families around the world. The excavation of the capsule in Ohio reminds us why this is still an important practice, to maintain our conversation with history and teach us about the lives of our ancestors, as building works and modernisation remove the physical landmarks. ]]>

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