The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

Time capsuling is hard. Most capsules from the 20th century are lost, damaged, or simply forgotten. But with any luck, these eleven time capsules — all intended to be opened in the year 2014 — will find their way safely above ground sometime this year.

From the computer parts buried by California high school students in 1971, to the bronze casket sealed by President Wilson in 1914 during a visit to Wall Street, 2014 has the potential to be a great year for unearthing capsules.

Casket Sealed by President Wilson — New York City (1914)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson visited Wall Street and helped seal a time capsule — a bronze casket, strangely enough — filled with historic documents.

  • Date buried: circa May 1914
  • Location: Probably the NY Historical Society
  • Capsule description: Bronze casket
  • What's inside: Historical letters and documents from Wall Street

From the May 14, 1914 Daily Free Press in Carbondale, Illinois:

President Wilson is expected to review the parade of the Lower Wall Street Business Men's association on May 23, through Wall street, thence to Pearl street and Broad street to Faunces Tavern.

During the ceremonies President Wilson will seal a bronze casket containing copies of famous historical letters, the official program of the day's events, a history of the lower section of Wall street and sketches of the societies and associations participating.

This casket was placed into the custody of the New York Historical society, and is not to be opened until the year 2014.


Log House Capsule — Perryopolis, Pennsylvania (1976)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1976 the town of Perryopolis, Pennsylvania buried a time capsule at the site of the Gue House — an old log building originally constructed around 1820 and rebuilt in the 1970s.

  • Date buried: October 3, 1976
  • Location: Perryopolis "Gue House"
  • Capsule description: Unknown
  • What's inside: Letters from the year 1976

From the October 1, 1976 Connellsville Daily Courier in Pennsylvania:

At 5 p.m. Sunday the historical society will bury a time capsule at the site of the log house. The capsule will be opened in the year 2014, when Perryopolis will celebrate its 200th birthday. Anyone interested in writing a letter to be enclosed in the capsule may secure an envelope at the historical society's country store.


OakBrook Shopping Center — Oakbrook, Illinois (1964)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

When the developers of a new shopping center in suburban Chicago opened the doors to the Oakbrook Shopping Center in 1964 they assembled a time capsule scheduled to be unearthed in 2014.

  • Date buried: December 1964
  • Location: Oakbrook Shopping Center
  • Capsule description: About the size of a shoe box
  • What's inside: Newspapers and letters from 1964

From the December 31, 1964 Brookfield Citizen in Illinois:

Into the archives of posterity for the next 50 years go the writings of two columnists, Charles Cannon of the Citizen Newspapers, and Ann Marsters, movie critic of Chicago's American, show placing her column into the B&K time capsule. John Adams, president of the Oak Brook Merchants Ass'n, is placing a copy of "Cannon's Cavalcade" which appears in the Citizen Newspapers, on the amusement and entertainment page, as well as a copy of the Citizen publications for that week.

Mailing early, 50 years early, are business leaders of OakBrook Shopping center, who are depositing letters to be opened at Christmas time in the Year 2014 A.D.


Oak Park Crypt — New Castle, Pennsylvania (1914)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

Back in 1914 the town of New Castle, Pennyslvania constructed a time capsule to be housed in a mausoleum at the local cemetery. Donations from all kinds of local organizations were solicited, and provided it remained untouched, it could be a fascinating thing to see opened this year.

  • Date buried: June 1914
  • Location: Oak Park Cemetery
  • Capsule description: Mausoleum
  • What's inside: Unknown items donated from local organizations in New Castle

The June 16, 1914 New Castle News in Pennsylvania.

In the very near future there is to be sealed up a crypt in the new mausoleum at Oak Park cemetery which will contain historical records of various local organizations, religious, fraternal, patriotic, educational, commercial and artistic, which will lie in the little tomb for a solid century before human eyes are ever cast upon them again.

The crypt will not be opened for a century, or one hundred years from the day of dedication of the mausoleum. Then the crypt will be opened and inhabitants of New Castle in the year 2014 will read what was written and placed in the records in the present year, 1914.

An opportunity is given by Manager Jno. G. Thomas to the various organizations, schools, lodges, etc., of the city, to have place in this crypt, and to place in it the historical record of their organization for the generation a century hence. Some have already availed themselves of the opportunity, but many others can be provided for, if they will signify their desire to place some record in the crypt before it is sealed. There will be no cost to the organizations taking advantage of the opportunity to leave a message for the inhabitants here in 2014.


Courthouse Capsule — Jerseyville, Illinois (1964/1989)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1964 the residents of Jerseyville, Illinois buried a time capsule on the grounds of their courthouse. After the capsule was dug up in 1989, a new one was created and put in its place, along with some items from the original 1964 capsule.

  • Date buried: November 10, 1989
  • Location: Jersey County Courthouse lawn
  • Capsule description: Vault measuring 84 inches x 34 inches
  • What's inside: Unknown

From the October 25, 1989 Alton Telegraph in Illinois:

The people of Jersey County are looking ahead to the year 2014. That's when the sesquicentennial time capsule being buried Nov. 10 will be unearthed by another generation.

Planners of the event hope messages received 25 years from now will be as touching as those unearthed this summer during Jersey County's sesquicentennial activities.


Mayoral Letter — Akron, Ohio (1914)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1914 the mayor of Akron, Ohio wrote a letter to whoever might be mayor of that city in 2014. The current mayor of Akron is Donald L. Plusquellic, pictured above next to Frank W. Rockwell, the mayor in 1914. I've reached out to the current mayor's office to ask if they're aware of any letter but have yet to hear back.

  • Date buried: January 1914
  • Location: Bank deposit box somewhere in Akron, Ohio
  • Capsule description: Unknown
  • What's inside: Letter from 1914

From the January 25, 1914 Anaconda Standard newspaper in Montana:

Akron, Ohio, Jan. 24 — Mayor Rockwell wrote a letter today to the person who will be mayor of Akron 100 years hence. The epistle tells the future mayor of the present debt, the names of all city officials, the problems confronting the municipality and the political situation in Akron in 1914.

The letter will be sealed, addressed to "His Honor, Mayor of Akron, 2014," marked with instructions not to be molested until that year and placed in a bank deposit vault to lie for a century.

The salutation in the letter will fit either a man or a woman.

UPDATE: Turns out this letter was a hoax from 1914.

Much like modern day hoaxes, the story spread far and wide, but the correction didn't make it outside of Akron. No word on who started this false story, or why they would go to the trouble. Maybe a political opponent trying to make ol' Mayor Rockwell look foolish?


Victory Stand Capsule — Van Nuys, California (1971)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1971 students of Van Nuys High School in California buried a time capsule filled with newspapers, magazines, tape recordings, photographs, a computer circuit board, sheet music, maps, postcards, and clothes.

  • Date buried: June 2, 1971
  • Location: Van Nuys High School, encased in concrete about 6 feet deep, adjacent to the "Victory Stand"
  • Capsule description: The size of a metal file cabinet drawer
  • What's inside: About 50 items, including tape recordings and computer parts

From the May 30, 1971 Van Nuys Valley News in California:

In ceremonies scheduled Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Victory Stand in the central quadrangle, a time capsule containing nearly 50 items, from selected school, local and national periodicals to tie-dye "tee" shirts and patched jeans, will be buried for opening 43 years from now.


Port Capsule — Houston, Texas (1977)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1977 a time capsule was buried at the Port of Houston, sealed with predications about what the year 2014 might be like. If it's anything like other American predictions from the 1970s, expect them to be less than optimistic.

  • Date buried: April 1977
  • Location: Barbours Cut, the Port of Houston
  • Capsule description: Unknown
  • What's inside: Predictions for the future

From the April 29, 1977 Big Spring Herald in Texas:

A time capsule, to be opened in the year 2014 on the Port of Houston's 100th birthday, was lowered into the ground by Port Authority commissioners.

Among the items in the capsule are predictions about what the world and its ports will be like in that year.


Loudonville Sesqui Capsule — Loudonville, Ohio (1964)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

A time capsule was buried in 1964 by the small Ohio town of Loudonville with plans to open it on the town's 200th birthday in 2014. Not much is known about this capsule, but it's the ones with the sketchiest details that can often pleasantly surprise you.

  • Date buried: October 8, 1964
  • Location: Somewhere near the Loudonville Street Fair
  • Capsule description: Unknown
  • What's inside: Photos and unknown mementoes

From the September 20, 1964 News Journal in Mansfield, Ohio:

Dress-up day will be held Oct. 8 for all citizens who would like to appear in their sesqui outfits again. It will be highlighted by a burial of a time capsule containing mementoes and pictures of the July Sesquicentennial celebration. This will be done with due ceremony, under the direction of Miss Jean Steadley. The capsule will be re-opened in the year 2014 when the village will be 200 years old.


Mayoral Letter — Charlotte, North Carolina (1964)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

In 1964 the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina wrote a letter to whoever might hold the position 50 years into the future. That man happens to be Democrat Patrick Cannon who was elected this past November.

  • Date buried: May 11, 1964
  • Location: Unnamed movie theater or former movie theater in Charlotte
  • Capsule description: Unknown
  • What's inside: Letter from 1964

From the May 13, 1964 Statesville Record and Landmark in North Carolina:

Mayor Stan Brookshire "mailed" a letter Monday that won't be read until the year 2014.

The letter was addressed to the mayor of Charlotte, 2014, and placed in a time capsule, which won't be opened until that year. The capsule is located in front of a movie theater, which was formally opened Monday.

In his letter, Brookshire mentions the progress Charlotte has made in recent years and describes several proposed programs, which should be completed by 2014. He also "imagines" there will be one million people in the city by that year.

Brookshire also mentioned the city's progress in the field of civil rights and concludes:

"I have mentioned only briefly some of the more important things going on in our city today, the results of which should shape our city in the future and which perhaps will be apparent in the year 2014."


Double Bicentennial Capsule — Edwardsville, Illinois (1976)

The Most Exciting Time Capsules Being Opened This YearS

Countless time capsules were buried in 1976 for the American Bicentennial. And while many were scheduled to be unearthed in 100 years (for the Tricentennial), some towns chose years more important to them locally. The town of Edwardsville, Illinois buried a time capsule that's supposed to be unearthed on Independence Day 2014 — roughly Edwardsville's Bicentennial.

  • Date buried: May 1976
  • Location: Edwardsville fire house in front of City Hall
  • Capsule description: Floor safe
  • What's inside: Unknown

From the April 30, 1976 Edwardsville Intelligencer in Illinois:

A time capsule containing information about Edwardsville in 1976 is the Bicentennial project of the Edwardsville Township Democratic Club. The capsule, actually a floor safe, will go on display soon in the front window of Schmidt Phillipe & Associates Inc., 146 N. Main St. The capsule will be buried in front of the Edwardsville Fire House at city hall in ceremonies at 3 p.m. July 4, and is to be dug up on July 4, 2014, which is about the date of "Edwardsville's Bicentennial," according to club officials.