VEEDERSBURG — In the summer of 1900, the members of a country church placed a time capsule into the cornerstone of their new building across the street from the schoolhouse where the congregation gathered for worship.
More than 100 years later as work got underway on an addition to New Century Church, elder Pete Crumin was moving the heavy cornerstone when a metal box clanged to the ground.
Inside the badly-rusted container, where bugs had eaten through some of the contents, were copies of Veedersburg’s two early-1900s newspapers and notes written by the founding members.
“We had no idea that that was there,” said Crumrin, who began attending services at the church a couple years ago.
After congregants viewed the documents, the box was given to a longtime member who will preserve the materials until the church decides what to do with the capsule.
The church was raised a year after the bustling railroad town of 1,600 people was incorporated into a city. Smoke rose from the kilns of the local brickyard that would later pave the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
As the congregation assembled to lay the cornerstone, the high school track and field team eyed a bid for the state championship.
The school was also well stocked with trustees. After the incorporation, Veedersburg’s newly-elected city council picked a fresh slate of school board members. The new board put out a call for teachers even as the old board hired their own educators. A judge later ruled that the old board was effectively disbanded when Veedersburg became a city.
By time Crumrin — a lifelong Veedersburg resident — joined the church, the services had dwindled to about a half-dozen people. One of the remaining members challenged the fellow congregants to invite someone, and the church began to grow.
The church now draws 35-40 regulars for Sunday morning services, which some members have listened to over their car radios during the pandemic.
The Sunday school classes eventually outgrew the kitchen area where lessons are taught and the congregation voted to expand the building. The new addition will include a classroom, modern restrooms, office and storage space and an expanded fellowship hall.
Before Crumrin joined brick mason Bill Minick and church trustee Carl Hoagland to lay the cornerstone, members gathered copies of recent newspapers, coins, photos and other mementos to seal inside a new time capsule.
“When I got a hold of it, it was taped shut and I don’t know what’s in it,” Crumrin said.