Winnipeg in Focus is a database for archival descriptions and digital collections at the City of Winnipeg Archives.

Series s00039 - Cornerstone Casket, 1875

Winnipeg, Main Street looking south, Spring of 1874 Winnipeg, East Ward, north of Browns Bridge, 1875 Main Street looking north from Portage Avenue [Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia] Pontoon Bridge, Fort Garry and Warehouse from south side Assiniboine River Grasshoppers, 1875 Winnipeg Water Works, 1871 St. Boniface, 1872 Monster Grasshopper, 1875 J. L. Reid's arrival from the west Grasshoppers, 1875 Grace Church, Winnipeg, 1872 Members and Officials of the Council of the City of Winnipeg, 1874 Members and Officials of the Council of the City of Winnipeg, 1875 Winnipeg Fire Brigade, July 1, 1875 Part of East Ward, St. Boniface in the distance Point Douglas looking north with City Hall foundation in foreground, August 1875 Point Douglas from Courthouse, 1874 Winnipeg, Main Street looking south, Summer 1875 First arrival of Mennonites, 1874
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Cornerstone Casket, 1875

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21 photographic prints and other material

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Forms part of Fonds 1, City of Winnipeg (1874-1971): Series 82 consists of items contained in a casket prepared by City Council for placement in the cornerstone of the City's first city hall.

Not long after incorporation, City Council proposed construction of a city hall. A site on Main Street between William and Market Avenues was selected. On August 17, 1875, the cornerstone of the new city hall was laid with Masonic honors by Grand Master the Rev. Dr. Clark and officers of the Grand Lodge. A civic holiday was declared to mark the occasion, and speeches were made by Chief Justice Wood, the Hon. R. S. Davis, Premier of Manitoba, and American Consul James Wickes Taylor. At the ceremony, a casket was deposited into the cornerstone ' the casket contained coins, bills, newspapers and photographs of the City. Today, such a box would be called a time capsule.

Completed in 1876 and formally opened on March 14 of that year, the first city hall suffered chronic structural problems. Repairs were attempted, but were not successful, and for some time, the building was propped up with wooden braces until it was finally judged unsound and demolished in 1883. At demolition, the casket was removed and eventually placed into the cornerstone of the second city hall. When this building was demolished in 1962, the caskets were moved to a bank safety deposit box and then to the Archives.

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