In January, we reported on the demolition of the Holy Family convent on Poplar Level Road to make way for the new headquarters of the Louisville Catholic Archdiocese. In Bryan Grumley’s report, he lamented not just the loss of a historic three-story brick structure but also the embodied energy the building represented and the larger throw-away culture that has made it easy to toss old buildings in the landfill.
But since the structure has been razed, an unexpected but of history has surfaced in the form of a recovered time capsule. According to Jessica Albe of the Catholic newspaper The Record, the capsule, dating to 1949, was hidden inside the structure’s cornerstone.
The time capsule, a surprise to church leadership, was opened by Deacon Patrick Wright, according to Albe, who found a Mass card and other items that shed light on the culture of Holy Family in the late ’40s.
“When I hear people talk about the convent, they connect it with the sisters and the school. It’s always been a part of the landscape there,” Wright told Albe, noting the bittersweet feelings about tearing down the building. “In a sense, a piece of history is gone with the building. The time capsule helps to reconnect some of the history of the building.”
The Catholic Church saved two small elements of former convent: a stained-glass section once suspended over a doorway to the former convent and the cornerstone previously mentioned, which will ultimately end up in a garden space on the parish campus.
The site of the former convent will make way for the new , housing offices and other departments for the church. A new time capsule will be included in the new building.