Church’s 1941 time capsule discovered in York


At the York County History Center, acting director of library and archives Nicole Smith knows that history can be fragile.

“Here we have the York Dispatch from September 14, 1941,” she said pointing to a projection of microfilm.
“We are grateful that these papers were all photographed and filmed so that all the information is preserved because the newspaper disintegrates so easily,” Smith said.

There is one copy of that newspaper still preserved, thanks to a time capsule recently discovered at the old Zion Lutheran Church in York. 

“The time capsule itself is made out of copper and it is engraved on the front, the Zion Lutheran Church annex,” Smith said.

Construction workers at the Yorktowne Hotel found the capsule in the wall of the church annex right next door. 

“The church included copies of the newspaper from the day before.

The headline of the Dispatch reads ‘Roosevelet challenged by Nazi High Commands,” Smith said.

The church also included a scrapbook and a bible.

“Two roses that were put in the time capsule, as well as the Zion Lutheran church charter and history of their sunday school,” Smith said.

Zion Lutheran moved almost 25 years ago to a new location in Manchester Township, but for lead Pastor Janyce Jorgensen, these contents are more than just a glimpse into the past. 

“It reconnected us with our roots,” Jorgensen said. “It reminded us that we have 175th anniversary of the congregation coming up, even as we celebrate 25 years in our new location.”

The bible, the old photos of the church and other artifacts are all reminders of history nearly eight decades old.
“It’s just been a nice time to realize and recognize how we’re connected with one another and how we’re connected with our history because we don’t want to forget that, even as we look forward to our future,” Jorgensen said.

The History Center will keep the items safe for now, as the church decides how to best preserve their past.

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