The 175th Anniversary Committee on Tuesday peeked inside the 125th anniversary time capsule to check if its contents were intact despite a massive flood 48 years ago.
Soon after, some people expressed confusion after New Braunfels Mayor Barron Casteel posted pictures on Facebook of some of his letters from the capsule. The committee said they let Casteel see the letters addressed to him in a private event since he is the mayor but did not open any of the others.
While the commission wanted to start archiving items ahead of time, the capsule's event in March is unchanged.
“What happened was that the time capsule was set in concrete and we had to get it out and it took a lot of work to get that concrete chipped away,” committee chair Anne Miller said. “It’s been in there for 50 years and because of the flood of ‘72 we wanted to make sure there was no water in there and make sure stuff was salvageable.”
Miller said all the items were safe and dry, and committee members handled everything with gloves as they sorted through the items that were sealed tightly in plastic bags.
everything with gloves as they sorted through the items that were sealed tightly in plastic bags.
“We just had to do it this way,” Miller said. “If we had opened it up and it was filled with water I don’t know what we would have done.”
The capsule, surrounded by thick concrete, was buried in Landa Park and will be opened publicly March 14 at 10 a.m. after the Community Breakfast at 9 a.m.
The capsule was created during the city’s 125th anniversary in 1970.
The committee will send the time capsule’s items to the Sophienburg Museum to be catalogued alphabetically. Miller said the committee estimated about 150 to 250 are letters in the capsule among other items.
The museum will create a list of people the letters were from and addressed to and notify them or their descendants to pick up their items.
The committee will have various tables with the items arranged alphabetically so people can come pick up anything designated for them. Event volunteers will likely check their ID’s and rely on an honor system to identify who can pick up what.
If any items are leftover, the committee will reach out to the respective people. If no one picks up the items, they will be sent to the museum to be archived in case they are claimed later.
“Anything that is left will go back up to the museum and the museum will hold off on those,” Miller said.
Carroll Hoffman, a longtime New Braunfels native and 125th anniversary committee chair, raised the capsule on Tuesday.
He will also officially open it in March, and the committee is hoping former Mayor Jack Ohlrich will help open it, as well.
A new capsule will be buried in December, with more details to be released in August on how to submit items.