This week members of the 175th anniversary celebration broke the seal on the time capsule that was buried in 1970 as part of the 125th anniversary celebration.
The move drew some criticism from people who felt that it diminished the suspense and surprise that should come with the time capsule’s official opening in March, but a check before its big reveal made far more sense than rolling the dice that everything would be fine.
Yes, it would have been exciting to watch the time capsule be hauled from the earth and opened for the very first time — as long as everything was fine.
Think back to other holding-your-breath moments that have been broadcast live with great anticipation only to fall flat with subpar results.
In 1986 Geraldo Rivera broadcast live the opening of Al Capone’s vault while millions watched. Inside were bottles and dirt — and an apology from Rivera.
Fifty years is a long time and Mother Nature hasn’t exactly been silent in the intervening years since the time capsule was buried. The 1972 flood was just the first blow.
Taking some time to open the capsule and make sure that everything survived the years was just a smart move. With so much of what is inside the capsule being paper, any water leak that had gotten inside would have long turned the contents into a nasty and smelly slurry.
That might have been worse than Al Capone’s bottles and dirt, particularly for locals who are waiting to see the things that their children or grandchildren placed inside so long ago.
The early opening also allowed for contact to be made with the descendants of those people who have passed away since the capsule was buried.
The March event will still be a great time to gather, reminisce and celebrate with others. The magic will still be there and this check makes sure it won’t be an empty promise.