RICHMOND, Va. -- Crews will continue their work Saturday to repair the pedestal where the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stood until Wednesday -- after an unsuccessful search for a time capsule believed to have been buried in its base.
Security fencing installed on the streets surrounding the circle where the pedestal sits were also removed Friday, but the fencing around the circle itself will remain until repairs have been completed.
All roads are open around the Monument Avenue site.— VAMonument2021 (@VAmonument2021) September 10, 2021
Crews are done for the day. Seven pieces remain to be replaced tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/OK7BiODKuK— VAMonument2021 (@VAmonument2021) September 10, 2021
Work is expected to continue at least through Saturday to reassemble the pedestal at the Monument Avenue site. (1/3)— VAMonument2021 (@VAmonument2021) September 10, 2021
Next, the ground needs repair from the heavy machinery used to bring down the statue, and all debris and other materials must be removed from the site. This may take several days, and fencing will remain in place around the circle to enable this work to proceed safely. (2/3)— VAMonument2021 (@VAmonument2021) September 10, 2021
Pedestrian fences around the neighborhood have been removed. (3/3)— VAMonument2021 (@VAmonument2021) September 10, 2021
The repairs came a day after a 12-hour search Thursday turned up no sign of the time capsule supposedly placed there in 1887, prior to the statue's installation in 1890.
"I'm positive there's a capsule in here somewhere. It's just finding it, accessing it," said local journalist and author Dale Brumfield, who has done research on the capsule, after the search was called off on Thursday. "We know a time capsule was placed. We just can't find where. So that's the mystery that continues with this whole story."
Officials at the site expected the replacement of the roughly pieces of concrete that were removed during the search would take two days. The installation of a new time capsule into the pedestal is expected to occur on day two.
The new capsule contains 39 items including memorabilia from the pandemic and the protests of last summer. It also includes a 2014 hip-hop album made by Noah-O and Taylor Whitelow.
"About what it was like to grow up here and the transition we were witnessing as Richmond changed -- started to become a more inclusive, a more artistic city," said Noah-O. "But, we wanted to create a conversation on these statues and the history of Virginia or what we felt it was like growing up in the shadows of these things."
Noah-O said a friend of his submitted the album for consideration on the last day suggestions were being taken and added he is still processing that it was chosen.
"It felt good, it felt kind of, like, -- I don't want to say vindication -- but at the time we created this album there wasn't a big conversation around the monuments, around social justice," Noah-O added. "At the time, we felt like it fell on deaf ears. So, to see years later…it being recognized and us being included as part of what considered a new Virginia, it feels good. It feels good. And to know that our voices are being heard and will continue to be heard here in the future."