Cumberland Times-News

May 15, 2014

Uncovering the past: Memorial Hospital

1928 time capsule discovered at site is a virtual treasure trove

Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A time capsule that had been placed in the marble entranceway at the former Memorial Hospital was opened at City Hall on Wednesday and revealed a multitude of historic items and hand-written documents, as well as a humorous item left for the future openers.

Mayor Brian Grim and Margie Woodring, city clerk, opened the aged copper box in the mayor’s office to find a red pamphlet of The Gospel of St. John sitting atop a large stack of documents.

“We got a call that there was a time capsule there and it was around the area that they were about to do a demolition,” said Grim.

The former Memorial Hospital facility is currently being razed to create an open green space to market to developers. Workers found the time capsule Monday in a section of the ornate entranceway to the original hospital building.

“We found it underneath an engraved granite tablet to the left of the main entrance,” said Rhodes.

The main entrance facade is expected to be preserved and donated to the Allegany Museum.

The rectangular time capsule sustained some minor damage before being discovered when a worker accidently hit a corner of the capsule with a saw.

The box, made by Pritchard’s Hardware of Frostburg, was transferred to the mayor’s office where some research was done on it. It was found that the time capsule was placed at the hospital during a dedication for the city’s newest hospital on Memorial Day weekend in 1928.

Construction on the new Memorial Hospital was subsequently completed and the facility opened in the summer of 1929.

Once open, the date the time capsule was
interred was verified. Inside was a copy of the Cumberland Daily News from May 30, 1928, with the headline “Mystery of the Italia Deepens.” The loss of the dirigible Italia while in route to the North Pole was a big story at the time.

The time capsule was placed in the entranceway during a dedication ceremony held at 2 p.m. on May 30, 1928.

The box also contained a map, 1927 annual report for the old Western Maryland Hospital on Decatur Street, post cards, contracts, bank notes, business cards, letterhead, stamps, pins, 1920s silver coins and a President William McKinley series 1902 $10 bill.

Someone filling the time capsule had some fun by placing a check for $100,000 made out to “The Bearer” and dated it January 1, 1999.

“Someone had a sense of humor. I think that check is stale dated,” joked Grim.

A hand-written document of more than 100 pages was also included that gave biographies for all members of Memorial’s board of directors and a history of the Western Maryland Hospital. The document’s historian was listed as Mary L. Murphy with William Paisley listed as scribe.

Names that appeared frequently on many of the documents included Tasker G. Loundes, George Young, Thomas Finan, Hugh McMullen and Thomas Koon, mayor of Cumberland at the time.

“This was from a time when Cumberland was booming,” said Grim.

Grim said the collection of items will most likely be placed with the Allegany Museum.

Other items found in the time capsule included:

• 1928 Rand-McNally driver’s guide.

• Annual report detailing the $83,305.15 in earnings made in fiscal 1927 by the Western Maryland Hospital.

• Invitation to the June 6, 1928, graduation of the Western Maryland Training School.

• Holy Bible from Ankeney Co.

• City of Cumberland financial statement.

• Cumberland Evening Times price $.02 from May 29, 1928.

• A copy of the Cumberland Daily News dated May 30, 1928 transferred on cloth.

• Statements from Peoples Bank of Cumberland, Commercial Savings Bank, Cumberland Savings Bank, Liberty Trust, Frostburg First National and Second National Bank.

• 1908 post card celebrating Children’s Day.

• Business card from Grant Lumber & Supply phone: “Bear in mind 159.”

• Card of 1928 Maryland Racing Dates.

• Letterhead from Miners Hospital and the Union Mining Co., Mount Savage.

Greg Larry can be contacted at .