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2 min Read
Published April 1, 2017

Raleigh Time Capsule Hidden Inside Big Acorn Monument

The City of Oaks holds many mysteries, including several time capsules buried beneath our land and within our city walls. There’s even a capsule, buried in 1967 outside the Cardinal Theatre, slated to be unearthed this very year, which is drawing plenty of excitement from the North Hills community.

Raleigh citizens are already tweeting about what historic treasures might be waiting inside! However, the Cardinal Theatre’s time capsule is pint-sized compared to the giant mystery hidden inside the enormous copper “Big Acorn” sculpture sitting in Moore Square.

“It’s a true Raleigh secret,” shares local historian Joe King. “The artist only told a handful of members of the historic community.”

The Big Acorn, or “Nutzilla,” as N&O columnist Dennis Rogers jokingly nicknamed it, is 250 times the size of a regular acorn, making it a spacious location for a hidden time capsule. Although it weighs in at 1250 pounds, Joe King states, “Well, now we have to guess that at least part of that weight is actually part of the time capsule. Who knows if the sculpture really weights that much? It’s really fascinating and re-writes the data we thought we knew!”

The copper paneling and metal frame, share Joe King, actually serve to hide the capsule from metal detectors and x-ray machines. “It’s the perfect hiding place.”


What’s Inside Raleigh’s Big Acorn?

“We can only guess,” says Joe King.

There are a few clues, however.

  • The acorn itself was crafted back in the 1800’s. There are competing theories as to why the enormous nut was created. Some say Nutzilla was built to honor the Whig Party President Mallard Fillmore. He was the final president of the United States to be affiliated with a party other than Republican or Democrat. He was said to exclaim, “That’s nuts!” upon visiting Raleigh.
  • The North Carolina Science Museum has a different story, however. According to a researcher, back in the 1800’s the squirrel population carried diseases, much like the Bubonic Plague back in the Medieval Ages, that threatened the entire community. The large acorn was created using the reflective copper, which gives off a terrible odor when heated beneath the sun that only small rodents can smell. Science researchers concur, “The Big Acorn was essentially a squirrel repellant, placed directly in the center of Moore Square to protect downtown Raleigh citizens.”
  • The children at a nearby school in downtown Raleigh have their own rumors. “Nutzilla is filled with candy,” swears Susie Little. Each decade since 1850, historians have added the most popular candy from their era, essentially creating a protected capsule detailing the history of Raleigh’s candy across the generations. “It will be interesting to see what kind of candy kids like me ate over 100 years ago,” bustles Susie.

Some theorists even believe Nutzilla is actually the very spaceship on which Sir Walter Raleigh crossed the Atlantic Ocean to discover Raleigh — and here are some more facts about Sir Walter Raleigh they don’t teach you in history class.

What Do You Think Will Be Inside The Big Acorn Time Capsule?

Oh, and in case you already haven’t figured it out… April Fool’s! Share this article with your friends to get them, too!!

Sorry, ya’ll. I had to do it. 😉

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  • heather


  • I sincerely believe that through the power of storytelling, I can make social issues become more than a set of statistics. My expertise is in community leadership, non-profit work, event coordinating, networking, and storytelling. All my articles.

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