RICHMOND, Va. -- Dale Brumfield is soaking in this moment in time.
“Its something I never thought I would see in Richmond. It is absolutely astonishing," Dale said. “To me it's jaw-dropping. I had tears in my eyes walking up to it.”
The historian believes the Lee Monument's time is up and must come down.
“This wasn’t put up to honor a General. They were put up to show who was in charge," Dale said.
But while most gathering at the statue are transfixed by the statue's new appearance on the outside, Dale is most interested in what's on the inside.
“I don’t know what it was. Intuition. Something said, ‘Dale dig a little deeper into the Lee Monument,'” he explained.
Sifting through archives three years ago the Richmonder discovered the Lee Statue holds a secret - and he has the documents to prove it.
“So I spent hours going through microfilm newspapers," says Dale. "Real exciting. Oh my gosh. My challenge was to find out what cornerstone the time capsule was put in.”
Dale said an engraved copper box was placed inside the northeast corner of the pedestal by the Masons in 1887.
“You don’t need to take the pedestal down to get to it," he said.
Inside is a possible treasure trove of relics.
“You could take that time capsule out at anytime, It's right out in the open."
The super sleuth says among sixty-plus Confederate artifacts we may find one of the rarest relics in American history.
“If this is the image that is in the time capsule it is an irreplaceable two of a kind item," Dale said.
There may be an image of an assassinated President Abraham Lincoln lying in state.
“I kept it under wraps. But here it is right here," Dale said. "We need to get it out."
The VCU graduate said only one other photo like it exists. The only one known to exist is at the Lincoln museum in Springfield Illinois.
“What if there is a second one inside that time capsule! It needs to be taken out and needs to be in a museum," he explained.
Dale also believes the symbolism of burying an image of the late-President speaks volumes.
“I think it sends a very clear message why there is a picture of an assassinated president inside the monument dedicated to the glorification of a Confederate general. I think it is a big middle finger to the North and what Lincoln stood for," says Dale.
Monetarily the photograph could be worth a fortune.
“Three years ago it was worth $300,000. Who knows what it is worth now," says Dale.
If the image does exist historically Dale said the artifact is priceless.
“It’s a buzz. A buzz in my soul that I think that it's in there. It needs to come out. It is screaming to come out," says Dale.
You can count Dale Brumfield as one who didn't believe the Lee Statue's days would be numbered this soon.
“If my calculations are correct it's in here and nothing else needs to come down."
The curious Richmonder says if and when the monument is finally removed we may finally get to the bottom of solving a 133-year-old mystery buried not so deep inside.
“It is literally inches away," Dale said. “It's hidden in plain sight. Like many of Richmond’s secrets. It is hidden in plain sight.”
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