As it turns out, the cylinder recovered at Forest Home Cemetery, Oct. 3, was not the Haymarket time capsule. Bleue Benton, the Oak Park Public Library research librarian, who was part of the search team, provided a brief update on the project. 

After the cylinder was removed, she said, it was X-rayed. The films show what appears to be a metal urn, not the capsule they have been seeking for over two years.

Benton indicated that more research needs to take place before they can find the location of the real capsule. She plans to review 450 pages of minutes from the Pioneer Aid and Support Association, the organization that originally placed the capsule. Unfortunately, these minutes are written in Old German, a language Benton does not understand. She recruited a German language scholar but he was also unable to read it. Benton referred to the task as her “retirement project” and estimated it will take at least six months to translate the minutes.

As for the time capsule: “Now we know where it’s not. We won’t do any additional digging, until we have the exact location.” She doesn’t know whether WTTW will air the footage they have so far or revisit the project when the capsule is finally located. In the meantime, the Forest Park Historical Society is hosting a presentation titled “Mysteries of the Haymarket Time Capsule” on Oct. 27, from 7 to 10 p.m., at 1000 Elgin Avenue.

Benton will participate in the presentation, along with labor historian Mark Rogovin. Though the location of the time capsule remains a mystery, Benton said, “We love talking about it.”

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.

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