Hundreds of people turned out to see what was buried in a time capsule on Charlottesville's bicentennial 50 years ago.
Their anticipation mostly turned to disappointment Sunday, when the steel box was opened to reveal a soggy mess. Water had seeped into the capsule, destroying most of its contents, the Daily Progress reports.
Steven Meeks of the Albemarle Historical Society said a tar seal around the box broke down, allowing the moisture inside.
Historians pulled out dark-brown newspapers, a damaged commemorative plate featuring Thomas Jefferson, rusted bicentennial buttons and coins, and two tape reels that likely recorded speeches from government officials from that era.
Sixty-two-year-old Tom Hartsell of Crozet had hoped to see letters he and his parents put in the capsule, but they didn't survive the water.