Time capsule to be buried on courthouse property
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Oct 31, 2013 | 2731 views |  0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sunny Gillespie at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County goes through items that will be placed in a time capsule in the Calhoun County Courthouse next month. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Sunny Gillespie at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County goes through items that will be placed in a time capsule in the Calhoun County Courthouse next month. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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Eli Henderson wants to deliver a message to Calhoun County residents. And they can receive it in 2063.

The circuit clerk has recently set up a time capsule committee that later this month will bury historical artifacts on the courthouse grounds, where Henderson said they’ll sit for 50 years.

“It’s part of history, and it’s important we do it,” Henderson said. “And if I don’t do it, then maybe no one else will.”

In September, Henderson started putting together the committee and holding meetings, trying to find out what items people wanted to see buried and preserved.

So far the list is sparse and has relied heavily on library documents. Sunny Gillespie, a library employee and member of Henderson’s committee, said she made documents listing current elected officials throughout the county, as well as photographs of prominent landmarks and locally owned businesses.

“Unfortunately, a lot of these places might not be around in 50 years,” Gillespie said. “So it’s good to have a record of it.”

Other items included so far are computer disks and popular books, including the Harry Potter series. Gillespie said she’s hoping to include examples of more modern technology as well, including a mobile tablet device or smartphone.

“We got a lot of room to fill up,” Gillespie said.

The Anniston Star will also have a prominent place in the time capsule, said Robert Jackson, vice-president of operations for the paper and a member of Henderson’s committee.

Jackson said he provided Henderson with current articles from the paper as well as copies of community profile publications.

Henderson also included written responses from county employees, elected officials and 1,300 current high school seniors about what life is like now and what technological advances they predict for the future.

“I think it’ll be interesting if those folks are still around, they can see what they wrote 50 years ago,” Henderson said.

A self-described history buff, Henderson said when he took the circuit clerk’s job earlier this year, he wanted to find a rumored time capsule that had been buried somewhere at the courthouse when it was first constructed in 1900.

It turned out the capsule had already been dug up in 1964. According to an article in The Star from March 8 of that year, most of the contents of the copper time capsule had been ruined from a leak, with primarily a few coins dating from the 19th century surviving.

Henderson hopes this capsule will have a better seal to prevent any damage. A 4-foot long stainless steel container will hold the items, many of which will be wrapped in plastic. Marble taken from the Wells Fargo building on Quintard Avenue, now being torn down, will provide the cover.

“Nothing’s getting in there,” Henderson said of the container. “We’re lucky to be working with the library on this too, because they have the right material to archive it.”

Henderson hopes the contents will survive after they’ve been dug up, so he’s including a message in the capsule to the circuit clerk of Calhoun County in 2063 to make sure the items go on display at the public library.

“We can’t find what happened to the stuff in the 1963 capsule,” Henderson said. “I want to make sure we hold on to this stuff.”

The committee will bury the capsule at the back entrance of the courthouse at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15. Anyone with items they think should go into the capsule should call the Public Library of Anniston at 256-237-8501.

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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