By Wendy Osher
A time capsule dating back more than 50 years was discovered this morning in Wailuku.
County officials say the discovery was made by demolition crews working at the site of the old Wailuku Post Office/Federal Building.
Contract workers for Betsill Brothers Construction were in the process of removing the cornerstone of the building when they discovered a rectangular metal canister, county authorities said. Workers at the time were reportedly trying to preserve the cornerstone which reads “United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, 1959.”
Managing Director Keith Regan, as acting mayor in the absence of Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa who was on Oahu at the time of the discovery, removed the time capsule and its contents.
Officials from the mayor’s office say the capsule contained a letter from the general contractor who built the building, Thomas T. Tanaka of Honolulu, a book of blueprints of the building itself and a copy of the Maui News with the story of the new post office building on the front page, dated Sept. 19, 1959.
“What a great find,” said Managing Director Regan. “Our records did not indicate there was a time capsule in the building.”
According to the contractor’s letter, the price to build the post office was $639,055. The cost to demolish the building, county officials said, is being estimated at $604,000.
Workers began tearing down the building on Jan. 7, 2013 as part of the county’s Campus Master Plan for Wailuku. The building had issues with asbestos, black mold and other infrastructure problems, according to county officials.
Once demolished, the county plans to use the property as a temporary parking lot.
In time, officials with the mayor’s office say another building will be constructed that will enable departments to move their offices out of One Main Plaza.
According to county officials, a new building space would save the county about $1 million in rent annually.
***Supporting information courtesy County of Maui.