Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2006

History prized from church

Eudora UMC time capsule to be opened at Sunday service

August 17, 2006

Ninety minutes into an excavation Wednesday behind the cornerstone of the Eudora United Methodist Church, Don Bradshaw confirmed the hunch that church leaders four generations removed had left something for their followers.

"We hit metal," he said, the first solid evidence a time capsule was placed behind the cornerstone 85 years ago.

Bradshaw and stonemason J.R. Follars of Jayhawk Masonry were charged with the tricky work of digging a time capsule out of its resting place without removing needed structural material.

"I can't believe there's something there," Follars said. "I thought this was a wild-goose chase."

The time capsule's removal came as church members prepare to say farewell to the church built in 1921 on the corner of Seventh and Church streets. The church is having an auction Saturday of church items and furnishings that won't make the move to its new home.

The congregation recently sold the building on the corner of Church Street and has started construction on a new church south of Kansas Highway 10 just west of Winchester Road, which is expected to be complete in the late summer of 2007.

The move from the 1921 church will be mostly completed with auction and the congregation currently meeting at the Warren-McElwain Mortuary/Eudora Chapel, east on 10th Street on Douglas County Road 442.

This Sunday's 10:30 a.m. service will be special because that's when the 8-inch by 10-inch copper box prized from behind the cornerstone will be opened.

The old church didn't give up the treasure easily. It took five hours ofhiseling and hammering for Bradshaw and Follars to free the box from the surrounding stone and mortar.

The extended excavation gave the near dozen church members watching plenty of time to speculate on what the 1921 church members might have left in the capsule. Ideas ran from fanciful to practical.

"What we hope is gold dollars or silver dollars," Doris Oelschlaeger said.

Most church members assumed there would be some kind of note commemorating those who contributed money for the church.

"They should have names," Eugene Westerhouse said. "There were two old widows down the street who helped build this church. The Gilmore sisters. Their names should be in there."

The congregation has already started collecting items to place in a time capsule behind the cornerstone of the new building.

"We have a box of stuff inside we're going to use," church member Bill Zinn said. "This will give ideas on what we should add."

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