HUTCHINSON, Kan. — As the city of Hutchinson prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial, a group of citizens and city officials gathered at city hall to open the centennial time capsule that was buried Aug. 10, 1972. The well-rusted metal box was unearthed and then opened in a special ceremony at city hall.
A special proclamation was read by Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho, proclaiming Aug. 15 as Hutchinson Day. After the ceremony, she talked about how special it is to look back and into the future.
“It’s always fascinating to see what was important to people in prior generations, so it’s an exciting time to get a snapshot of what our community found interesting,” Piros de Carvalho said. “I think it really is such a privilege of providing a snapshot of the next 50 years.”
The time capsule offered up banners, a phone book, a license plate honoring the centennial and many letters. Most of the items made it through the past 50 years in pretty good shape.
“The things you see the most problems with are the metal items,” Reno County Museum Curator David Reed said. “The license plate caused a little bit of moisture damage to some of the envelopes, and some of the clasps that held some of these envelopes also got a little bit of moisture over 50 years . . . they actually seemed to make the journey quite well.”
Now that the items have been collected, Reed says the museum will go through the process of cataloging them.
“We’re going to stabilize it, curate it, get it all organized and cataloged,” Reed said. “The letters that are here, we definitely need to reach out to the people that they’re addressed to.”
For those who did have letters written, it will be a little time before they can find out what's inside.
“They’ll come to the museum and have them open it,” Reed said. “If they want to keep it because it’s addressed to them that’s one thing, if they want us to scan it and keep a copy of it, we’d love to do that. That will be up to the descendants as soon as we track them down.”
The capsule contained letters, a phone book, newspapers, a Montgomery Ward catalog, a commemorative liquor canister, a banner celebrating the centennial, a letter to the president, and other items. As the old time capsule was taken out, a new one was put in its place to be opened Aug. 15, 2072.