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Bicentennial time capsule offers a glimpse into Meredith's past

Carl Johnson, Jr. opens up the time capsule. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018
MEREDITH — On the Fourth of July, 50 years of history sealed in a cement pillar was revealed with the opening of the town's bicentennial time capsule from 1968.

In 1968, the Meredith Bicentennial Committee buried two time capsules in the lawn on the Meredith Public Library: one to be opened in 2018 for the 250th anniversary and one to be opened in 1968 for the 300th anniversary.

The time capsule for 2018 was unearthed in May, while the 2068 capsule remains in place.

On Wednesday, the time capsule was put on display at the library, where a group of people who were part of the bicentennial gathered for a photo.

The capsule was then loaded on the back of an antique truck and paraded down the street behind a group of young drummers. The time capsule was then taken to the Chase House for an official opening ceremony. A big crowd packed into the Chase House for the reveal with many people standing at the back of the room and sitting on patches of floor.

"Welcome to an event that's been 50 years in the making," said Erin Apostolos, chair of the 250th Committee's Time Capsule Committee.

Apostolos said time capsule was taken out of the ground in May to allow the Friends of the Library to plant their garden. They contacted Public Works to help them get the capsule out of the ground. The capstone was removed and the capsule was located in a sealed off cistern. Attempts to remove the cistern cover proved difficult and Public Works Director Mike Faller was eventually called to help with it. The handle to take out the cistern broke off, though eventually equipment managed to get the cover off and reveal what was underneath.

"We were impressed with the job the 200th Committee did," Apostolos said.

Apostolos especially thanked the people who put this all together in 1968, "Without whom none of this would have been possible."

A slideshow put together by Betty and Fred Strader was shown of photo from the 1968 celebration put to the biggest musical hits of the year.

"When you see the slides, you'll see the love these people had in their community," Apostolos said.

The event was emceed by Carl Johnson, Jr., who remarked on how many people came out for the event.

"It is a testament to the great community we live in," Johnson said.

Johnson pried open the time capsule with a chisel after a little bit of effort, a drumroll playing. After the cap was removed he handed the different items to Apostolos with descriptions for the crowd of what they were.

One item revealed was an original ink comic strip by Bob Montana.

"Best Wishes for the future," Montana inscribed on the comic.

The items from the time capsule will be stored and put on display at the Meredith Historical Society.

One of the items was a wrapped gift for the 250th anniversary committee, a "gift from one committee to the other." The package contained bicentennial coins with "Town of Meredith" on one side and the Old Oak on the other.

Meredith Village Savings Bank included a passbook for an account with $10 for the first baby from Meredith born in 2018. The book went to Colton Boxer, who was born on Jan. 4 and lives on Cummings Cove Road.

Also in attendance was the first baby born in 1968, Buddy Greene.

Some of the items were wet and town, though the majority were well preserved.

Apostolos said the committee will be putting together its own time capsule for 2068. People are asked to give suggestions on what should go in it.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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