3. The Cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Much is known about the cornerstone of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, especially after the five-year, $175 million renovation of what is deemed as the nation’s largest Roman Catholic Gothic sanctuary. It is known that the cornerstone was hand-cut by a 22-year-old Irish immigrant, and that it was laid on August 15, 1858, the Feast of Assumptions, by John Hughes.

Yet there is a major gap in our knowledge about the cornerstone. No one knows where it is and when it went missing. While it is was laid at the corner of 50th Street and Fifth Avenue, the cornerstone is not located in any of the plans. One theory states that the cornerstone might have been dislodged or moved later during construction of the Lady Chapel at the cathedral’s eastern end.

On a prophetic note, the Archbishop of the time, John Hughes, seemed to believe that unlike other time capsules, this one would never be discovered, predicting that “in all probability, [the cornerstone] will never be disturbed by human agency.” 156 years later, he stands correct.