San Diego Court Finds Treasure in Decades-Old Time Capsule

San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh opens the contents of a 56-year-old time capsule as San Diego History Center executive director William Lawrence looks on. (Bianca Bruno/CNS)

SAN DIEGO (CN) – San Diego Superior Court broke open a time capsule sealed in 1962 on Friday containing court documents, newspapers announcing John Glenn’s trip around the earth and letters of congratulations on the new courthouse from past presidents.

Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh and San Diego History Center executive director William Lawrence carefully lifted the decades-old documents and artifacts from a copper box previously housed behind the dedication plaque of the old courthouse. It was removed during the moving process to the new courthouse on Union Street.

“This is a once in a lifetime event,” Deddeh said. “Think of all the millions of decisions that were made at 220 West Broadway, all the lives that were changed because of events that happened there. It’s pretty powerful.”

The time capsule contained rolled-up newspapers announcing John Glenn’s successful orbit of the earth, coins and county records retained on microfilm. Letters signed by former presidents Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover congratulating the County of San Diego on its new courthouse were also included.

A letter by Gov. Edmund Brown congratulating the San Diego County on its new courthouse dedicated in December 1961. (Bianca Bruno/CNS)

One of the contractors who worked on the courthouse included his business card and photo in the time capsule as well.

The reveal comes as the Judicial Council of California prepares to officially hand over the 59-courtroom courthouse to the county at the end of the month. The building stretches across three city blocks in downtown San Diego.

Currently, court staff are removing tons of furnishing, books and office equipment before the building is handed over to the county.

San Diego’s new $555 million courthouse opened late last year with all courtrooms and operations officially moved to the new building in February.

The contents of the time capsule will be added to the San Diego History Center’s collections housed at Balboa Park.

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