A Nova Scotian town was given a snapshot of 1949 when a hidden treasure trove of decades-old coins and newspaper clippings were uncovered.

On Thursday, a large crowd gathered to watch the opening of a time capsule from Thompson High in North Sydney, N.S. which had been sealed 70 years ago.

During a large ceremony at the North Sydney Historical Society, Alec Gilchrist, who was the school’s principal from 1959 to 1974, helped unearth the items which have not been seen in decades.

“There's a lot of history in that time capsule. There's no two ways about it,” he told CTV Atlantic Thursday. "I can remember them talking about this time capsule that had been placed in the cornerstone.”

Inside of the time capsule were old coins, a weathered wallet, a stash of decades-old dollar bills and a clipping from The Post-Record newspaper dated July 19, 1949.

There were even letters congratulating the senior class that graduated 69 years ago.

Resident Yvonne Ferguson attended the ceremony and said the contents “brought back wonderful memories — memories that the kids today will never have.”

Many attendees, including the former principal, were surprised how everything was still in good condition.

“Usually (items are) not in very good shape. Moisture's gotten into them and the paper contents have all gone to mush — I guess you’d call it,” Gilchrist said. “But this one was very well done."

Time capsule was nearly missed

The time capsule was nearly lost to history had Gilchrist and others not spoken up.

It had been hidden in the school’s cornerstone — a fact that few knew about.

When the school was demolished earlier this year, the stone was given to the Thompson family, for whom the school was named after.

They then sent the stone to the North Sydney Historical Society where it sat unopened.

Chuck Thompson, who attended the ceremony, explained how people had searched for the time capsule but “there was no sign of anything.”

He said somebody eventually thought “maybe it's in the stone.”

Gilchrist added that that’s when he and others brought the idea to the historical society.

Thompson, felt happy to be proven wrong, admitting that he was a skeptic because he “didn’t think it existed.”

With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan Macdonald