ITHACA, N.Y. — With demolition starting at the Old Library this week, one of the crew’s first tasks was to pry out a 50-year-old time capsule that has been preserved in the cornerstone of the building.

At about noon Wednesday, Dec. 5, the time capsule was pried out unceremoniously by workers on site. When they pulled it out, they found a box inside the concrete cornerstone that for decades was embedded in the brick by the entrance of the library with “1968” printed on it.

The time capsule has not been opened yet, and there are no immediate plans to do so. As news about the Old Library’s demolition progressed this year, several people have reached out to The Ithaca Voice inquiring about the time capsule. Several have said that when they were children, they put items in the time capsule along with children from other local schools.

Construction workers pry out the cornerstone which contains the time capsule from 1968. (Photo by Dustin Patte/The Ithaca Voice)
The time capsule is nestled inside. It has not been opened yet. (Photo by Dustin Patte/The Ithaca Voice)

According to developer Frost Travis, the time capsule is in the hands of the county. Moving forward, the plan is for the History Center in Tompkins County to store the time capsule, director Rod Howe said Thursday.

Barriers are going up around the building at the corner of Cayuga and Court streets and demolition is moving forward as planned, though many neighbors and people in the community have voiced concerns about how the asbestos will be contained during demolition. The site is being developed by Travis Hyde Properties into senior housing. When complete, the building will include more than 60 units.

Read the latest updates on the project below:

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.