Hutchinson opens his 1972 time capsule
Those who gathered Monday to open a centennial time capsule in front of Hutchinson City Hall and bury its centennial replacement were a mix of city and chamber officials, curious residents and several children whose parents were involved in placing the capsule 50 years ago.
About 40 people attended the event in front of City Hall, gathering in chairs on the lawn or in the shade available as temperatures had already started to climb.
Remarks from Hutchinson’s director of public information, Rebekah Starkey Keasling, who helped organize the placement of a new capsule, were followed by Mayor Jade Piros de Carvalho and the county museum’s chief curator. Reno, David Reed.
City parks workers then finished digging up and removing the buried steel capsule, dusting it, opening it and carrying its contents inside.
There, staff removed the items from the cellophane wrappings and arranged them on a pair of tables as the event was broadcast live on the city’s TV channel and Facebook page.
What was in Hutchinson’s time capsule?
The contents, some of which suffered water damage, included expected items – a 1972 telephone book and the Polk City directory – and a few surprises, including a bottle of Hutchinson Centennial whiskey, a banner created for the year of the centenary and a license plate.
There was a Time Magazine, with a cover on the next Olympics, asking “Can we fix them by 1976?” a Life magazine and a Sears catalog.
An August 15, 1972 edition of The Hutchinson News included a master photo of a student moving into the Hutchinson Community College dormitory, a story about the departure of KU’s chancellor, and national stories about chess champion Bobby Fisher, a plane crash in Germany and the Vietnam War.
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An envelope read “Key to American Inn” and museum staff unfolded a bag of Hudson Mill flour, likely produced by the Hutchinson Bag Company.
There were also a dozen sealed envelopes, including those addressed to the current city council, the First National Bank and The Hutchinson News.
There were also envelopes for the descendants of Hutchinson residents, which were written before the capsule was buried.
Don and Joann Hutchinson were at City Hall with their granddaughter, Kalia McDonald, 13, for the event.
Joann Hutchinson’s mother, Andrea Epperson, sent a letter to her children for the centennial capsule. She also cut a photo from the front page of The Hutchinson News, showing the capsule ceremony and scribbled a note to her children, reminding them to attend the opening in 2022. Epperson-Hutchinson took the clipping away with her Monday.
Joann Hutchinson, in turn, submitted a letter for the sesquicentennial capsule addressed to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I’m excited to see it in 50 years,” Kalia said. “I hope I will be there.”
Rob Mackey’s father, David, was on the Hutchinson town commission in 1972. As a teenager, Mackey was uninterested at the time, but he showed up on Monday to represent the family and find out if his late father three years after the event. at 57, might have left a letter for the family.
“I remember when he was mayor, the phone was ringing nonstop,” Mackey said. “It was a difficult period. He participated in the creation of the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission. We are proud of him and his legacy.
Reed said they would take the individual letters to the museum to dry, then try to find the descendants. The staff hopes family members will open them at the museum and allow the contents to be photocopied, or the originals left for future time capsule display. But the family can also take the letters to open them and keep them private.
John Pohl, a city construction and maintenance foreman who helped unearth the capsule, recalled the city’s centennial, although he did not witness the placement of that capsule.
He still has a horseshoe nail from Colladay Hardware that he bought from a Main Street gift shop for a few months during the town’s centennial year. The temporary shop just sold souvenirs to mark that year, he said.
He was happy to be part of the dig, even though the capsule was at least a foot deeper than expected. Most of the work to find out, he said, was done in the last week.
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“It’s easy to forget as we go through our daily lives that each of our experiences is woven into a rich tapestry that makes up a bigger story,” Mayor Piros de Carvalho said in a speech ahead of the lifting of the capsule. “A story to be read by future generations.”
“The 1972 Hutchinson is both similar and different from the 2022 Hutch,” she said.
“We have had both triumphs and setbacks over the past 50 years. I won’t go into all the changes – best left to historians.
“Instead, I want to convey a vision for the future of our city. We are here thanks to the work of those who came before us. And we have a responsibility to create a community that paves the way for the success of those who come after us.
I sincerely hope that when the capsule we bury opens in 50 years, Hutchinson will be an even healthier and thriving community where every resident feels connected and valued. Where everyone is heard and has the opportunity to work, learn and recreate in a way that makes sense to them.
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I hope we can put aside our differences, resist the urge to judge others and divide ourselves, and instead work together to solve our greatest challenges. That we can correct historical inequalities and give everyone a chance. This is my vision for our beloved city. We have made progress, but there is still much to do. »
Piros de Carvalho challenged those in attendance and other members of the community to think about how they can improve the community for themselves and others.
Four current City Council members were in attendance and took a group selfie after the event in front of City Hall. Councilwoman Sara Bagwell had a conflict, Starkey Keasling reported.
Besides his remarks, Piros de Carvalho read the brief letter to the current board.
“Greetings from 1972,” he began, then noted that the event also marked the opening of the new City Hall. The letter pointed out that the design of the building did not provide for any internal office doors “to show the public that our activities are in public”. He wanted Hutchinson to “remain free and open” and that the current board refocus on “transitioning to a better community.”
The new capsule, similar in size to the one removed, although made from a plastic composite, is filled to the top, Reed said.
He declined to list its contents in detail, wishing it would remain a surprise for future generations. He said the contents included several books referencing pop culture and numerous photos of buildings and individuals.
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It also contains information on businesses, the chamber and the “growth of the city”.
“There are surprises that I hope in 50 years they will still get the joke,” he said.
Reed said current museum staff have done a great job preparing the items going into the new capsule, so once it opens, it will be almost ready for the museum.
There are nearly 100 photos, he said, about 100 other printed materials, a few other non-paper items and at least one electronic USB drive. About half of the capsule is paperless, he said.
It also includes a letter he wrote to his descendants.