Look inside 1800s time capsules discovered at Atlanta YMCA

Two time capsules from the 1850s were discovered at the Buckhead YMCA building during construction.

BUCKHEAD, Ga. – It’s humming. You can hear it when you enter the Carl Sanders YMCA in Buckhead. The hum is from the treadmills and the ellipticals and the bikes. There is the clank of weights and the pounding of feet. One can safely say that the YMCA is a place where you go to try to turn back the hands of time, or at least slow it down.

What many don’t know is that the YMCA is also the place you go to step back in time.

Ed Munster, the president and CEO of the metro Atlanta YMCA has spent 42 years with the organization.
“We started in 1858 as the first and oldest charitable non profit in Atlanta.”

Inside two cornerstones outside the YMCA were two two time capsules that were exposed when the stones were moved for the YMCA's renovation.

Photos | YMCA time capsule from the 1850's

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Munster says, “All of a sudden we are finding this rich history of the Y.”

Stored within heavy, solid zinc boxes are notes from YMCA meetings, a bible, audits,renderings of old buildings, and newspapers.

Munster delights in language no longer used, reading the first sentence of a front page newspaper story. “All ex boozers are invited to watch the watch night services.” He laughs.

But reading the headlines from then sound strikingly similar to now.  

“In 1858 they were dealing with issues that we're still dealing with today.”

There is worry over unrest, international attacks, race, poverty in Atlanta.

There's also a tabloid element -- the woman who wanted to sell her husband to open a boarding house.

Absurdity, harsh reality, and hope.

In the world that was...and our world that is.

The time capsules are being turned over to the Atlanta History Center where they will be archived and displayed.

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