‘I thought there was gold and a skull’: What a Sask town found in a century-old time capsule

In the town of Kerrobert Sask., with a population of just under 1000 people, a community came out for an event a century in the making.

Two months ago, when contractors were restoring the front steps to the Kerrobert courthouse – a cornerstone of the community, a little piece of history was found. Something believed to have existed by many community members that had never been found.

“When we did our 100th birthday (in 2020), we had a rumor that we should look for a time capsule,” said the Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society’s Jackie McNichol.

“Of course we had no success.”

The capsule was located in a cornerstone of the building.

It was built in 1920 and used as provincial court until 1996. According to the Kerrobert Museum Facebook page “the Kerrobert Courthouse held many different court cases, but one, in particular, was a murder trial in 1931, which was defended by John. G. Diefenbaker, a future prime minister of Canada.”

“It’s in the middle of our town, it’s the heart of our community,” she said.

The site is commonly used for graduation and wedding photos.

Kerrobert Courthouse is a popular background for graduation and wedding photos. (Tara Neumeier)Roughly 175 people showed up to see the capsule opened by Kerrobert’s Mayor Wayne Mock — the total amount of visitors the courthouse saw last summer.

“When they (contractors) got to the cornerstone they noticed that there was a copper box inside and with all the excitement we really wanted to open it then and there but then we thought ‘Nope this was a provincial building back then. This is something that should be enjoyed by as many people as possible,’” Mock said.

Mock opened the box in front of the jam-packed courthouse crowd, drawing oohs and ahhs from many. Inside the cornerstone were several artifacts were confirmed by the Restoration Society:

  • A program from the Wednesday July 21st 1920 Kerrobert bar association banquet
  • A stack of newspapers by the now non-existent Kerrobert Citizen
  • Potentially a book
  • Another item yet to be determined

Items from Kerrobert’s time capsule.

Items from Kerrobert’s time capsule.

Items a little different than some of the town’s kids were expecting.

“What I thought was there was lots of money in there,” said nine-year-old Jett Shepherd.

“I thought there was gold and a skull,” said twelve-year-old Austyn Zerr.

Regardless of what the box contained, there was plenty of excitement for the community and a reminder of what so many love about the old courthouse

“Everybody loves this building, it’s so beautiful and there is a feeling in here that’s very friendly, very cozy,” said long-time Kerrobert resident Bonnah Busch.

In 2020 when it celebrated the building’s centennial, it was rebranded as the Kerrobert Cultural Center. It features the Kerropert and District Historical Museum, the Kerrobert Courtroom Art Gallery, the Wheatland Regional Library, the Kerrobert Chamber of Commerce, the town’s office, counseling services and even one lawyer has an office there.

The Kerrobert Courthouse Restoration Society will contact curators in the province to get advice on properly handling the artifacts. Afterwards, they will be displayed for the public to see at the courthouse. The cornerstone will be put back into its original place—possibly with new secrets for another generation to discover.

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