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Long opens time capsule, buries another

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POSTED: November 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Mike Riddle/

Crowd members gather in front of the Long County Courthouse on Saturday to examine items buried in a 1926 time capsule.

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With help from the Masons of Georgia, Long County removed a cornerstone of the courthouse Saturday, and glimpsed artifacts from a time long gone. The stone housed a time capsule full of items from 1926.
About 100 people gathered for the 3 p.m. unveiling, including members of the Grand Lodge of Georgia and Grand Master of Masons Ted Collins.
The Ludowici Altamaha Lodge 227 of Masons presided over the event, helping to dislodge the cornerstone and open the box containing several 82-year-old treasures.
Curious onlookers admired a copy of the Ludowici News dated July 2, 1926, a Masonic Manual Code Book from 1925, a letter from the Long County Board of Commissioners, a  letter to future generations from the 1926 Altamaha Lodge of Masons Grand Marshall Harold Clyde Long, a photo, a New Testament and a copy of the ceremony program from the day the time capsule was sealed July 7, 1926.
During that ceremony, the Masons consecrated the courthouse with three cups containing corn for prosperity, oil for peace and wine for joy.
Two special guests, Ralph Mueller, 90, and his sister, Sarah Johnston, 93,  were present for the festivities. Mueller, who now lives in Los Angeles, Calif., and Johnston were both at the cornerstone ceremony in 1926 when the time capsule was sealed. Mueller was 8 and Johnston was 11.
“In 1926, Ludowici was a booming town. The courthouse was new, houses were going up. It was growing, but then in ’29 (when the market crashed), everything fell out of the bottom. The bank closed, everything closed, and hard times hit,” Mueller said. “It’s good to see the area growing now. There has been a lot of changes since the last ceremony.”
Johnston said, “This is a wonderful day. About six years ago, I told Mary Ann (her daughter, county clerk Mary Ann Odum) about the cornerstone. No one even knew it was there.”
Johnston is a lifelong resident of Long County.
After it was emptied Saturday, the time capsule was refilled with present-day items, sealed and returned to its original location inside the cornerstone. New objects placed in the capsule include an Oct. 15 edition of the Coastal Courier that contained three stories about Ludowici and Long County, some sketches of areas in Long County by Janice Goode, a photo and article about Sarah Johnston, a photo of the current county commissioners, a cell phone, a list of officers and photos from the Altamaha Lodge 227, a list of Long County officials and a program from Saturday’s ceremony.
The cornerstone was replaced and will be reopened in 2058.
 

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