This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

Time capsule from 1893 in Phoenix, Arizona


In May of 2013, I was privileged to see the contents of a time capsule that had been found in an old building in Phoenix, Arizona. There were actually three time capsules, an 1893 cornerstone, a 1955 cornerstone and a safe that were all discovered at the site of the Bethel Methodist Church at 7th Street and Osborn.

The owner of this property allowed me to inspect the contents of the time capsules, which were astonishing. They paint a picture of an area that was 3 1/4 miles away from the town of Phoenix, and had a thriving population, enough for a sizable church.

This book is the property of Smith's Chapel

To put it in perspective, consider that the townsite of Phoenix had only been laid out in 1870, and the northern city limits were at Van Buren. North of that, although today we would have thought that there wasn't much, were farms. The farm which, appropriately enough, was at Osborn Road, belonged to John Preston Osborn. He, and the people who lived around there, would have had to go 3 1/4 miles into town whenever they wanted to worship at the Central Methodist Church, which was at Monroe and Central. Doesn't seem very far now, but in 1880, it would have been a long trip. So in 1881 the congregation around the Osborn farm started meeting in the schoolhouse at what was the original Osborn School, at 7th Street and Osborn. They named it Smith's Chapel.

Grand Paw Osborn, 17th line down. John Preston Osborn.

The congregation very quickly grew out of that, and by the 1890s, they had decided to build a new church. It was completed by 1893, and inside of a cornerstone were placed items like hymnals, books, Bibles, and newspapers of the day.


The 1914 building served well until the 1948 building was built just slightly west of it. That building remains to this day. In 1955 an additional building, which was for classrooms, was built, and the 1893 cornerstone, along with its contents was placed into it.

One of the stained-glass windows that was preserved. Note that it is a Phoenix Bird.

Contents found in the time capsules are being displayed in the Bethel Methodist Church building, which is now Taco Guild, at 7th Street and Osborn. So if you stop in there and take a look, do some time traveling.

All of the scans that I have are here (plain index page) http://www.bradhallart.com/images_phoenix/Osborn_School_Bethel_Methodist/



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