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The Fascinating History of Nappanee’s Time Capsules

Digging Up Nappanee History: The Fascinating History of Nappanee’s Time Capsules

Did you know there are 8 time capsules in Nappanee, Indiana? The oldest time capsule dates back to 1916. Here’s everything we’ve learned about the time capsules in Nappanee + a brief history of time capsules.

Located: Nappanee High School (Elder Haus, the Center)

Date Buried: October 6, 1916

Opened:  1974 after High School was torn down.

Contents & Information: The time capsule contained The Centennial yearbook, lists of school students, a school calendar, two weekly newspapers “The Nappanee News” and “The Nappanee Advance”, Camp Fire Girls notes, a penny, nickel, and dime minted in 1916, a list of town officials in 1916.

The box and its contents were donated to the Nappanee Public Library.

Currently on display at the ELC Heritage Collection

Located: Nappanee United Bretheren Chruch

Date Buried: July 29, 1928

Opened:  Unknown

Contents & Information: The only mention of what would be placed in the cornerstone was that if members had donated a dollar they would get their name on a card and placed in the cornerstone.

Located: Nappanee Public Library

Date Buried: December 14, 1936

Opened:  No current plans to open

Contents & Information:  The Cornerstone was laid on December 14 at 1:30 pm. It was conducted by Thomas Wilson who was the State Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge at that time. Mayor DeFrees and Nora Shively gave short talks. The Nappanee HS Band furnished music. There was a crowd of 500 for the cornerstone being laid.  A copper coffin was placed inside the cornerstone that contains a history of the building, names of the library board and city officials, communications from F.W. Logan who was in charge of the PWA, and a copy of the Advance News from December 10th, and other papers of interest. Stores throughout the city were closed during the ceremony and most merchants were on hand during the impressive ceremony.

Located: Nappanee United Methodist Church

Date Buried: July 21, 1974

Opened:  Unknown

Contents & Information:  Items placed in a copper box behind the cornerstone contained included a bible, the book of hymns, a 1972 book of disciplines, church periodicals, a roster of members, names of the pastors, the administrative board and the building committee, and other documents desired.

Location: Rotary Centennial Mini Park

Date Buried: August 1974

Opened: July 12, 2024

Contents & Information:  Put together by the Nappanee Rotary Club. Also, the creation of Rotary Centennial Mini Park. At the dedication, there were rotary songs, the placing of the time capsule, the dedication of the flag pole and there was a short speech by Rotary district governor Perry Haskins. People wishing to place things in time capsule was charged a storage fee. Those who wished to leave a message for their future family in the time capsule were charged 5 dollars.

Location: Central School

Date Buried: 1979

Opened: Unknown

Contents & Information:  Nancy Morris’ 4th grade class at Central School buried a time capsule in the schoolyard. Class members included 200 items to show how they lived including a toothbrush, watch, batteries, matchbox, cassette tape, milk carton, crayons, grasshopper, penny, stamp, pictures, and photographs. The items were sealed with a paper giving the date, the name of President Carter, and the names of all the class members. There was no date set to unearth the capsule.

Location: CR 7 – On the Bike Path

Date Buried: December 2000

Opened: Unknown

Contents & Information:  Part of the “Millennium 2000” celebration and was a part of various events across the state to celebrate the new millennium. This was to promote a sense of community pride and history. People were encouraged to donate items and make sure that items were identified. It was buried on CR 7/Oakland Avenue near the bathroom along the bike path. Judy O’Bannon encouraged Nappanee to promote a sense of community pride in conjunction with celebrating the 2000 Hoosier Millennium. The ceremony was held on December 28, 2000, with a program to seal it. The capsule was buried then in the spring.

Location: Nappanee Public Library

Date Buried: December 2021

Opened: 2121

Contents & Information:  The Nappanee Public Library celebrated their Centennial in 2021. A time capsule was created by The Nappanee Arts Center. Content included Creative Writing Contest submissions, messages from the community. A proclamation from the mayor, Phil Jenkins, a scrapbook, and more items from the celebration. The Time Capsule was sealed in December and is on display at the Nappanee Public Library.

History of Time Capsules

  A time capsule can be defined as a “historic” cache of goods and information. They don’t have to be historic. The concept is that it is a collection of stuff you intend future people, or your future self, to discover.

The term “time capsule” was first used in 1937 when a time capsule was prepared for burial for the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Most time capsules have opening dates attached to them unless they happen to be stumbled upon because no one knew they were there.

The oldest time capsule to be found in the United States was stored inside the Massachusetts State House by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams in 1795. It was meant to commemorate the construction of the building. It was opened once 1855 for cleaning and the addition of more items and then it was officially unsealed in 2015.

In 1876 a century safe was filled with artifacts of the 19th century. It was the first of its kind to have an opening date scheduled for reopening. It was sealed in 1879. It sat in the U.S. Capitol. It was opened at a bicentennial festival in 1976, 100 years after it was packed

 There are currently two time capsules in space they were launched in 1977. They are golden records that are meant to portray culture on early to any intelligent extraterrestrial life. They have on them music, natural sounds, images from around the world and greetings in 55 languages.

 Some time capsules are placed in cornerstones of buildings. They would contain a cavity in which a time capsule or a votive deposit could be placed. With these, a lot of times, local newspapers, coins in circulation, and other artifacts relevant to the time period were placed within the vessel. Traditionally, vessels were deposited with the hopes and intentions that they never would be disrupted.