Topeka Residents Discover Historical Findings Beneath Harrison Street Church Rubble

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-The search of what's left of a Topeka church has turned up a bit of history in the rubble.

Investigators say the fire that destroyed the building at 16th and Harrison Sunday morning was intentionally set.

Washburn University student, Jake Livgren, shot video inside the abandoned church at 16th and Harrison last week as part of a documentary.

"There was spray paint in there, there was people, obviously, been living in this thing, for a long time, just as a means to get by," says Livgren.

Sunday morning, it all went up in flames.

All that remains is scattered bricks and rubble, and a Topeka resident discovered some historical findings. Photographer, Wyatt Johnston, was taking pictures of the damage when he found a cornerstone. His research led him to a historical document that says a time capsule is at the stone's center.

"It just struck me as odd, I was pretty excited when I found that document and inside the cornerstone, was contents they created from 1919, they'd put inside the cornerstone, and it had like, Topeka newspaper, Bible, church members and board," says Johnston.

The church was named a local historic landmark, but with the deteriorated conditions, which you can see in Livgren's video, the City Council had voted in August to demolish it.

Johnston says he hopes the time capsule information is true, so a piece of the past is preserved.

"You don't get these buildings back once they're gone," says Johnston.

The cornerstone is being examined and the state fire marshal is still investigating who set the fire.


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