“The backhoe took a chunk out of the corner of it,” he said.
The capsule was enclosed in a concrete burial vault, Slack said.
“It looked like it had been sealed, but water had seeped into it sometime,” he said. “Everything in there was soaking wet.”
The contents were taken to a county shed, where they were spread out on tables to dry, Slack said. He met with several people from the Historical Society of Pottawattamie County, who looked over the materials.
“I know this was an accident, but I think it was a lucky accident,” said Dick Warner of the historical society. “There were some things that were pretty well shot. Another few decades, and there might not have been much left.”
He said the building and grounds crew had done the right thing by letting things dry and calling the historical society.
The time capsule had been buried on July 4, 1977 – the end of the U.S. Bicentennial – and was to be opened on July 4, 2076 — the nation’s 300th birthday. Local leaders had collected bicentennial memorabilia, other items of national significance and information on the community to include in the snapshot of life in the 1970s.
“I was quite impressed with the breadth of the collection and the size of the collection that was in there,” Warner said. “Whoever put it together did an incredible job of getting representations of local organizations.”
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