Time took a toll on time capsule (US)

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The copper box, tarnished green from seeping water, tells the story.

Most everything inside this time capsule, entombed in 1917 in the granite base of a Civil War monument in Stillwater, succumbed to moisture.

"Mucky, basically," is how senior objects conservator Paul Storch of the Minnesota Historical Society described the contents when they arrived in his St. Paul laboratory last summer. "It's fairly common when they use copper boxes that have been soldered or crimped and then they're buried. It seems all it takes is a pinhole."

Now the contents of the copper box -- intended to preserve memories of early Stillwater and Washington County -- are back home at the county's Historic Courthouse.

Saved: A miniature silk American flag with 48 stars. Three Civil War ribbons that say GAR, meaning Grand Army of the Republic. A vague image of downtown Stillwater. Bits of newspaper society notes for readers who don't mind sentences cut down the middle.

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