The Time Capsule in the Cornerstone of the Church of the Redeemer in the Village of North Pelham
For many years a beautiful church building stood in the Village of North Pelham. It was the house of worship of the Church of the Redeemer. The church congregation laid the cornerstone for the structure on June 23, 1892. It stood for many years on Second Avenue in today's Village of Pelham.
The church congregation later built what became its combined Parish Hall and Church located at 20 Fifth Avenue. Today that structure is the Daronco Town House that serves as the Town of Pelham's community center.
In 1969, the Church of the Redeemer was vacant and suffered a terrible fire. Authorities made a decision to raze the structure. Within a short time (1974), the Church of the Redeemer combined with Christ Church in the Village of Pelham Manor to create the Parish of Christ the Redemer. Three years later the Church deeded the Parish Hall and Church at 20 Fifth Avenue to the Town of Pelham for use as a community center.
There stands in front of the Daronco Town House a memorial to the church building of the Church of the Redeemer that once stood on Second Avenue. The cornerstone laid on June 23, 1892 sits at the base of the memorial. It has "1892" carved into it. The church bell rests atop the memorial. There is a wonderful story about the 1892 cornerstone that sits in front of the Town House. A photograph showing the cornerstone and the bell appears immediately below.
On December 18, 1969, a demolition crew worked to demolish the Church of the Redeemer. According to papers in the collection of The Office of The Historian of The Town of Pelham, "as the steeple roof and large stone chimney fell . . . North Pelham Police Chief Adolph V. Rusillo stopped by." Chief Rusillo asked whether anyone had thought to remove the cornerstone of the building so it could be kept by the congregation at the congregation's new location in the combined Parish Hall and Church at 20 Fifth Avenue. To his surprise, no such arrangements had been made.
Chief Rusillo thoughtfully asked that the cornerstone be removed and saved. As the stone was lifted, a heavy copper box appeared benath -- an 1892 time capsule placed by the congregation 77 years earlier! What follows is a list of the items contained in the time capsule.
- A Bible
- A Prayer Book
- A copy of the General Convention
- A copy of the last Journal of the Diocese of New York
- A digest of the Canons
- A copy of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of New York, 1888
- A copy of the 83rd Report of the New York Bible and Common Prary Book Society, 1891
- The Church Almanac for 1892
- Whitaker's Churchman's Almanac for 1892
- A copy of the New York Churchman, June 18, 1892
- A copy of the Parish Visitor for June, 1892
- A "History of the Parish" as read by the First Record of the Church, Cornelius Winter Bolton, when the cornerstone was laid
- Silver coins for 1892
- A copy of the New York Tribune for June 21, 1892
- A copy of the Mount Vernon Chronicle
- A list of the then-current church officers, Sunday School teachers and choir