A contractor dug up a bit of local history last month in the form of a time capsule containing worn reminders of Ridgefield’s early years.
Ever since the rusted metal box was uncovered in mid-July during renovation work inside a vacant building at 220 Pioneer St., some in the city have been piecing together the story behind its contents. The time capsule was found inside a wood barrel which was encased in a concrete block built into the foundation of the former candy story.
The man who discovered the box dropped off his findings next door at City Hall and asked not to be named, said Ridgefield Administrative Services Director Lee Knottnerus. Inside were faded photographs, documents and newspaper clippings from 1926, all related to the long-closed R.E. Schroeder Confectionery Store.
Ridgefield became a city in 1909.
“That building has gone through several renovations and this hadn’t been found,” Knottnerus said. The anonymous worker was careful to salvage the time capsule in one piece and Knottnerus said he plans to place another in the same spot when a new foundation is poured. “He’s an antique dealer on the side and he recognized what it might be.”
“The Sweet Shop,” as it’s more commonly remembered, might not be known to recent residents, but those who have been kicking for a while might remember hearing stories about — or even buying sweets at — the store.
Knottnerus said since news broke of the time capsule being unearthed, several local residents have helped with genealogy research to try and paint a clearer picture of the candy store and the Schroeder family that ran it.
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The store was apparently opened in 1926 by Roy Edward Schroeder and his wife Clara. Roy died in 1945 and Clara in 1977. Their daughter, Jean, whose photo was included in the time capsule, died in 2002.
“I don’t know that there are any Schroeders here anymore,” Knottnerus said.