Unforgettable find: masonry crews uncover history

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Masonry crews have been tearing out and replacing the steps out in front of First United Methodist Church for a few months. Recently, something stood out to them.

"We seen this date appear to us," R&G Masonry crew member, Donnie Dotter told Region 8 News.

"1898" carved upon a block of limestone. The block turned out to be the cornerstone from the old First Methodist Episcopal Church South in Jonesboro. "Christ is the chief Cornerstone" is also carved on the limestone.

Finding the piece alone was "amazing"

"It's a historical thing I guess, really! We was really thrilled," Dotter said.

What happened next was even more exciting.

"Then they said, well look at the top! And the top it said 'open here,'" Brother John Miles explained.

The top has a plug dating back to the late 19-20's.

"And we knew it was a time capsule," Miles said.

A time capsule hidden in the front steps for over 85 years.

"No one's left who remembers anything about it! No one knew it was there," Miles said.

Especially not the masonry crew.

"It was a very big surprise to them...and to us," Dotter laughed.

What will be more of a surprise is what's inside.

"We've got several different chisels and we're hoping one of them will work," Miles said.

They will be opening the time capsule at Sunday's 9:45am service.

"We all wanna see what's in it," Miles said.

Of course, everyone has their speculations.

R&G Masonry crew members said they've been betting on what's inside, likely pictures and newspaper articles.

Brother Miles said others have wilder ideas.

"Some people think there's something mysterious in it or...maybe it's gold," he said. "I can assure you, there is no money in there besides a few pennies or something."

Region 8 News plans to be at the service Sunday morning with cameras ready to see what's inside.

Brother Miles said they hope to keep the tradition alive by putting a time capsule of their own into the steps before they're completed.

He said one of the items will be a video of Sunday's service on it.

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