The fate of a time capsule that was inserted into the Confederate monument removed from Travis Park last September was the subject of a hearing in federal court today, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, which erected the monument in 1899, asked U.S. District Judge David Ezra to order the City of San Antonio to return a time capsule which was inserted into the monument at the time of its construction.
Ezra declined to order the City to return the time capsule to the UDC, but did order the two sides to get together on the issue.
"I want a special master. I want to see if they can open the box without damaging the documents."
He ordered them to agree on an archivist, possibly a historian, at a local university, who will take charge of the time capsule, open it, and make a determination as to what should be done with the contents.
"We'll decide later who gets the time capsule."
Jean Lane, Vice President of the Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter of the UDC, said the contents should be placed on public display.
"Because if the public is not aware of the true history, then they have preconceived ideas that might not be correct," she said."It does get emotional for some of us, because this is our history. It's our families that we're talking about."
The City says there are no contents. A representative told the judge that after the monument was removed, the time capsule was removed and a camera was inserted into a hole in the rusted metal container. Nothing was found inside except for a pile of broken glass.
The UDC says a Bible belonging to a rebel soldier, items owned by the daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, some Confederate money, and some flowers were recorded as being in the time capsule, but none of those items were expected to survive for 120 years.
The City says the time capsule is being stored in a vault that houses key documents and objects.
Judge Ezra also said a lawsuit demanding the monument itself be returned to the UDC, which raised money to build it in 1899, and received permission from the city to erect it at Travis Park 'will be dismissed as moot.' He didn't explain why the case is no longer ripe for legal notice.
"The court is going to make an order that it's not defaced."