Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

May 28, 2014

Lost in time

We like the concept of time capsules — one of which recently was unearthed during the demolition of Memorial Hospital. It can be fun to leave something for other folks to find some day. One of the items left in the Memorial time capsule was a check for $100,000 (almost $1.4 million today) that was made out to “The Bearer.” It was dated to Jan. 1, 1999. Were a time capsule to be buried in Cumberland today, we would be tempted to include one of the iconic but aromatic hot dogs with chili, mustard and onion that many people seem to crave. There are two basic problems with time capsules: (1) Either we know about them, but have no idea what’s in them and won’t be around to find out when they’re opened (a National Road time capsule is scheduled for unearthing in 2211, and we know what’s in it); or (2) Someone buried them, and they were forgotten. Three years ago, contractors working at the site of the former Pennsylvania Avenue School found a time capsule buried there in 1925. Its discovery came as a complete surprise. It contained newspapers, a Rotary Club handbook, the school board’s budget ($1.12 million) and a handful of pennies dated 1901-1920. Certain pennies from that era are valuable. The newspapers advertised a house for $6,300. Another time capsule supposedly has been interred in Constitution Park, with an opening date of 2055. (Some of us may still be here for that.) It was said to contain about 5,000 photos of Cumberland residents and, according to a newspaper ad, other “historical papers and pertinent data.” One of the most famous time capsules is the original cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building, which was put in place during a Masonic ritual led by President George Washington in 1793. The Capitol has undergone numerous construction projects since then, and people have looked for this cornerstone, but it has never been found.

— We like the concept of time capsules — one of which recently was unearthed during the demolition of Memorial Hospital.

It can be fun to leave something for other folks to find some day. One of the items left in the Memorial time capsule was a check for $100,000 (almost $1.4 million today) that was made out to “The Bearer.” It was dated to Jan. 1, 1999.

Were a time capsule to be buried in Cumberland today, we would be tempted to include one of the iconic but aromatic hot dogs with chili, mustard and onion that many people seem to crave.

There are two basic problems with time capsules:

(1) Either we know about them, but have no idea what’s in them and won’t be around to find out when they’re opened (a National Road time capsule is scheduled for unearthing in 2211, and we know what’s in it); or (2) Someone buried them, and they were forgotten.

Three years ago, contractors working at the site of the former Pennsylvania Avenue School found a time capsule buried there in 1925. Its discovery came as a complete surprise.

It contained newspapers, a Rotary Club handbook, the school board’s budget ($1.12 million) and a handful of pennies dated 1901-1920. Certain pennies from that era are valuable. The newspapers advertised a house for $6,300.

Another time capsule supposedly has been interred in Constitution Park, with an opening date of 2055. (Some of us may still be here for that.) It was said to contain about 5,000 photos of Cumberland residents and, according to a newspaper ad, other “historical papers and pertinent data.”

One of the most famous time capsules is the original cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building, which was put in place during a Masonic ritual led by President George Washington in 1793. The Capitol has undergone numerous construction projects since then, and people have looked for this cornerstone, but it has never been found.

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