The cornerstone was removed as part of the preparation by Ozaukee County for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the old courthouse's construction. The building is now part of the Ozaukee County Administration Center.
(Kevin) Wester, a Roman Catholic priest, is active in the Port Washington Historical Society and is one of the people planning the celebration. He is the unofficial courthouse historian.
The actual celebration is to be held July 4. But, just to be safe, the capsule was opened early, Wester explained to the County Board.
"We were told you always open time capsules privately because the majority of time they are filled with old coins and dust," Wester said.
The Port Washington capsule was the exception to that caveat, Wester said. Inside the copper-lined tin box were 117 different items and nearly all were in almost perfect condition.
The one exception was a 1901 State of Wisconsin Blue Book - a directory of state government. That was moldy, but it is the least historically significant item in the box, Wester said.
"There were newspapers, 33 cents in coins, ribbons advertising the laying of the cornerstone, four photographs, including a panoramic view of the actual cornerstone laying, ribbons advertising the event, the empty cartridges from the volley fired that day and many other things," Wester said.