Two Lincoln artifacts return to
the soil at the Lincoln Depot
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[September 16, 2017]
week two time capsules, one from 1953 and another from 2003, that
had been excavated from the soil during the Depot reconstruction
project were returned to their designated spot for safe keeping
until the dates upon which they are to be opened.
Lincoln’s Building and Safety Officer Wes Woodhall explained that he
had been charged with the task of returning the time capsules to
their location when former City Administrator Clay Johnson left his
Woodhall, because he is new to his position, didn’t know all the
finite details, but said that the city of Lincoln when negotiating
with Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation for the
reconstruction project had asked that the capsules be taken out of
harm’s way during construction, and at the appropriate time returned
to the depot site.
Many folks will recall there was a large stone marker on the south
end of the property, near the railroad tracks. That stone marked the
spot where the capsules were buried, and had been in place since the
placement of the first capsule in 1953.
According to information found on the Finding Lincoln Illinois
website maintained by historian Leigh Henson. The capsule was buried
during the city of Lincoln Centennial celebration. That
100-year-anniversary of the city had been celebrated with a week of
activities in August of 1953.
Among those activities had been the collection of various historical
items and items of interest, and information about the centennial
celebration. Those items were then placed in the capsule and sealed
with a proclamation that the capsule would be retrieved and opened
in 2053, 100 years after the burial.
The capsule was buried with a “Letter to posterity,” which read:
As a sentimental gesture, or perhaps you will interpret it as a
measure of ego, this generation of Lincolnians is here burying what
we choose to call a time capsule. It is a sealed record of the
activities that occurred during the time of the celebration of
Lincoln's first 100 years. We are preserving the record as a
reverent thanksgiving to the generations of the past and a humble
tribute to the generations of the future.
Every man has his own time to be born, to live and to die. This
generation like all past and previous, has had its moments of glory,
its moments of defeat and many hours in between. The contents of
this box have been selected as means of interpreting to future
historians some of the activities, the ambitions and the culture of
The following list is a summary of what the 'Letter to posterity'
describes as the contents of the capsule:
copy of the New Testament ("as a symbol of the enduring faith of
copy of the historical booklet [The Namesake Town: A Centennial
History of Lincoln, Illinois, edited by Raymond Dooley with
Ethel Welch as the chairperson in charge of the Booklet
copy of the 144-page special Centennial Edition of the Lincoln
Evening Courier of August 27, 1953
scrapbook of news clippings from the months preceding the
Centennial Celebration and during the celebration
account of the special events of the 8-day Centennial
"great miscellany of Centennial items," including accounts of
the Brothers of the Brush and the Sisters of the Swish and the
wooden nickel " issued for the first time by the city of Lincoln
• a tape recording provided by WPRC that "preserves our voices
for future generations"
• a history of agriculture
• a souvenir plate
• an entire script of the centennial pageant titled Lincoln, 'Tis
of Thee.' Pictures of the pageant were not available when the
capsule was buried.
• an authentic signature of Abraham Lincoln
• "a beautiful souvenir volume containing the greatest of his
writings, for it is the spirit of Mr. Lincoln that has been the
most notable influence on the history of this community"
letter concludes, "Lovingly we do now commit
these items to the hazards of fate and to the charitable
understanding of a future generation."
Raymond Dooley, President
Alois Feldman, Mayor
City of Lincoln
The second time capsule was buried at the city’s Sesquicentennial in
2003. At this 150 year anniversary, the city also held a large
celebration that lasted 10 days. Again items were collected for the
time capsule, but it was not actually laid into the soil until 2004.
The original plan had been to place the capsule in the ground with
its predecessor on the birth date of Abraham Lincoln on February
12th in 2004. However, on that particular day, there was snow on the
ground, and the earth was frozen. It was decided that there would be
a mock burial ceremony and dedication, and that the capsule would be
buried at a later date.
On that date, a small group gathered at the depot for a formal
ceremony led by Lincoln historian Ron Keller and Mayor Beth Davis.
The proclamation was given that the capsule would be retrieved from
the earth in 2153, 150 years after its burial.
[to top of second column]
Items placed inside the new time capsule, according
to information found in the LDN archives included:
Sesquicentennial time capsule list
Christening scene souvenir afghan
Souvenir stove pipe hat
Souvenir sesquicentennial history book
Lincoln Courier, daily editions, Aug. 20-Sept. 2, 2003
Lincoln Daily News, daily editions, (same as above)
Sesquicentennial stationary, advertisements, brochures,
thank-you from mayor
Various Logan County tourism brochures, coloring book
Lincoln College handbook
Logan County Civil War record
Sesquicentennial "Staff" and "Security" T-shirts
Christening scene ornament, sesquicentennial pin
Several editions of current national newspapers
Numerous pictures of the sesquicentennial week
of signed letter from President George W. Bush
Lyrics for song composed and sung by Carroll Catholic School
Several restaurant menus, several organization and business
brochures and pamphlets (many more yet to come in)
Postville well brick (No. 11 of 1150)
capsules have been in safe keeping with the city since being
week, crews came in and excavated the burial spot and carefully
placed the capsules back in the ground about 10 feet from one
another. Concrete was poured, and the capsules are now prepared to
wait out their term as prescribed in the two proclamations by the
Related articles and links:
From Finding Lincoln
Eighth Day: Saturday, September 5, 1953 -- Progress Day
4:00 p.m.: Time capsule burial and dedication of Centennial Park
located near the train station
From Lincoln Daily News
February 13, 2004 - City celebrates Abraham