Mystery Remains: What Secrets Does this Lion Know?


Somewhere along Boston’s Freedom Trail sits the oldest surviving building in the city. Built in 1713, it stood as a stark reminder to colonists in the area of British dominion and rule. This is the building where the early Revolutionists of this great country stood upon the balcony to deliver the message of the Declaration of Independence. Oh, the stories this building could tell, if walls could talk. Or…statues?

Perched atop this historic landmark, a golden lion and a silver unicorn look out upon humanity, watching the days go by. In recent years, a descendant of the sculptor of these guardians found an old letter among some family heirlooms. The letter spoke of a time capsule hidden inside one of the statues. After researching archives, city officials found a story from the Boston Daily Globe, 1901, telling of the encased time capsule and its contents. The article said the lion’s head contained a copper box with photographs, sealed letters from Boston politicians of the time, autographs of prominent Bostonians, newspaper clippings, and buttons from the presidential campaigns of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

After taking both statues down and delivering them to conservator Robert Shure of Skylight Studios in Woburn for retoration, the Bostonian Society threaded a miniscule camera into a tiny opening in the lion’s head, confirming the existence of said box.

It’s been a few weeks since that exciting day, and now, the box has been removed and opened. Society members found everything listed in the letter…and one thing that was not…a mysterious red book, which offials quickly removed without revealing the contents of the book to the public.

What could this book be? Who owned it? Why was it placed in the time capsule? Why wasn’t it mentioned in the list of items, or the letter?