Time Capsule from 1917 Found in New York

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. restoration / ˌrɛs təˈreɪ ʃən / (n) – the act or process of returning something to its original condition or position

    There is an ongoing restoration of an old statue from the Middle Ages.

  2. pioneering / ˌpaɪ əˈnɪə rɪŋ / (adj) – using new ideas and methods for the first time

    The man did pioneering work in robotics.

  3. recount / rɪˈkaʊnt / (v) – to tell in complete detail

    This book recounts the life and works of a famous Italian painter.

  4. benefactor / ˈbɛn əˌfæk tər / (n) – someone who donates or helps another person, group, or organization by giving money

    We will be inviting benefactors to our charity event.

  5. slate / sleɪt / (v) – to arrange or plan for something to happen in the future

    Ms. Kissinger is slated to be the next CEO.


Read the text below.

A 103-year-old time capsule has been dug up by a team of workers doing restoration work at the Roslyn Grist Mill in New York.

The time capsule, which was placed in a hundred-year-old milk bottle, was buried underneath the concrete floors of the historical building.

The bottle was hidden by two men who were part of a team working to preserve the building in 1917. It contained two handwritten letters, one in English and one in Italian, as well as four rare coins.

Stephen Speedling, who owned a carpentry shop in the city, wrote the letter in English. The Italian letter was written by Romolo Capparrelli, who was the designer of the building’s concrete roof. Andrea Fedi, professor of Italian and cultural studies at Stony Brook University, translated Capparrelli’s note.

In the letter, Capparrelli said that he wanted to be remembered for his pioneering work on the restoration of the Roslyn Grist Mill. Pam Story, Capparrelli’s granddaughter, confirmed that her grandfather was from Pico, Italy, and later settled in Roslyn. She recounted that her father told her about Capparrelli putting a glass bottle containing various items within the building’s walls.

The restoration of the 18th-century Dutch-framed watermill has been ongoing since 2018. It is funded by donations from public and private benefactors. Once the construction is finished, the old building is slated to become a museum.

Jennifer Lister, a member of the Roslyn Landmark Society, said that the bottle and its contents will be displayed in the museum. She added that the members of the Roslyn Landmark Society are thinking about putting a new time capsule in the building before they finish the restoration.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Capparrelli’s wish to be remembered for his work was fulfilled? Why or why not?
• Do you think it is a good idea to put a new time capsule in the building? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• If you made a time capsule, what would you put inside it? Discuss.
• Where do you think is a good place to bury a time capsule? Discuss.