A group of approximately 20 members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Clements recently stood and watched as the cornerstone from its 1951 church building was removed.

The church, which was closed earlier this year, is being demolished, and as part of that process the congregation wanted to know what messages, and potential items of value, its predecessors left for them when the church was dedicated. 

Following the physical removal of the 1951 cornerstone, a copper box was found, and within that box several items were discovered to include copies of several years of the finances for the church, a copy of a newspaper and a letter that outlined some of the construction information for the church.

In addition to the 1951 cornerstone, a second cornerstone placed in the building from 1902 was removed, but there was no box or time capsule included in it.

Stuart Carleton of Blue Earth Environmental Group, which is taking down the church building, said cornerstone events like this are once-in-a-lifetime, adding they reflect what was important to the people who placed it there decades ago.