Secrets to stay sealed – unopened time capsule likely to be buried again

Photo taken in 1983 by Jim Gordon, showing Lyle Fletcher helping with burial of sesquicentennial time capsule in City Park.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

It looks like secrets buried in City Park will stay buried in City Park – at least for another 15 years.

The riddle of the mystery time capsule rediscovered last week was solved. The capsule was buried as part of the city’s 150th birthday party in 1983. The sesquicentennial  bash also featured a 150-foot banana split and square dance demonstrations.

But as far as the secrets contained inside the time capsule – well, city residents may have to wait several more years to have those treasures revealed.

Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley said Monday that the original intention was likely that the time capsule remain buried for 50 years. It has only been 35 years since it was put in the ground during a community ceremony.

“My guess is we will probably rebury it,” Otley said.

The forgotten time capsule was rediscovered last week then city park staff and architects walked the area of City Park where a new building is being planned. The time capsule is under the footprint of the building.

When the park department’s natural resources coordinator Chris Gajewicz posed the question about the time capsule last week on Facebook, it sent local residents scurrying for their local history sources.

The time capsule is covered with concrete, a rock, and some etching that was too weathered to read.

But some long-time Bowling Green residents recognized the location as the site of the sesquicentennial time capsule. The capsule was buried with great pomp and circumstance on Oct. 2, 1983, during a community gathering in City Park that commemorated the city’s 150th birthday.

More than 1,000 townspeople showed up for the festivities which included a box lunch for $3 each, a hymn sing, children’s games, horseshoe tournament, pie baking contest judging, a style show of old fashions, softball games, wagon rides,and prizes awarded for a beard growing competition.

Top-billing, right after the box lunch, was the burying of the time capsule.

The event was recorded by Joan Gordon, who headed up the sesquicentennial committee. A photo taken by Jim Gordon shows local historian Lyle Fletcher burying the time capsule.

But 35 years later, the time capsule, with its now undecipherable etching, had gone unnoticed. The mystery memorial would be allowed to rest there undisturbed, except that it is sitting in the path of the new City Park building being constructed next year.

The new building in City Park will take the place of the existing Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and the Depot. It has necessitated the moving or replacing of some memorial trees.

And now, the time capsule will likely join in that transplanting – no longer a mystery except for its 35-year-old contents.

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