Demolition crews working at the site of the old Wailuku Post Office and Federal Building Tuesday morning discovered a time capsule dating back to 1959, according to Maui County officials.
Contract workers for Betsill Brothers Construction were in the process of removing the cornerstone of the building when they discovered a rectangular metal cannister underneath. Workers were at the time trying to preserve the cornerstone which says "United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President, 1959."
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa was on Oahu at the time of the discovery. In his place, Managing Director Keith Regan removed the time capsule and its contents.
Inside was 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 September 19, 1959.
"What a great find," said 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 is $604,000.
Workers began tearing down the building on Jan. 7 as part of the county's Campus Master Plan for Wailuku. The old building had issues with asbestos, black mold and other infrastructure problems.
Once demolished, the county will use the property as a temporary parking lot. In time another building will be constructed that will enable departments to move their offices out of One Main Plaza, saving the County about $1 million in rent each year.