While installing a new fire exit on the southeast corner of the Sheridan Avenue, a worker found a metal box stashed behind the 1965 capstone.
“We didn’t know what it was,” said Rich Petersen, who along with Brad Constantine, purchased the building from the county earlier this year. A closer look revealed it was a 48-year-old time capsule that had apparently been forgotten.
On Dec. 3, Petersen and Constantine presented and unpacked the capsule to some delighted Park County commissioners, history buffs and library officials.
Inside were some materials about the history of the libraries and Wyoming Masons, photos of the 1906 and 1916 facilities, coins from those years, a silver medallion from Wyoming’s 75th year of statehood, old newspapers and minutes from a 1905 meeting of a women’s group that helped start Cody’s first library.
A 1965 Cody Enterprise in the box reported then-Gov. Cliff Hansen was expected to attend the dedication of the library and burial of the time capsule.
Constantine also read a snippet from a 1915 Enterprise in the box.
“There still must have been a rivalry in Cody-Powell, because it says here, ‘Cody gets revenge on Powell boys,’” Constantine said, to laughter from the audience.
“Some things never change,” said Commissioner Bucky Hall of Cody.
Commission Chairman Loren Grosskopf tossed out the idea of perhaps re-burying the capsule with items commemorating the 2008 opening of the current Park County Library. (The article about Cody beating Powell “doesn’t need to go back in there,” quipped Commissioner Tim French, a Heart Mountain resident schooled in Powell.)
The materials will likely soon be put on display at the current library.
“Who knows what the value of all that is, but it’s better with them than us,” said Constantine.
The former library building is expected to re-open next year as Millstone Pizza Company and Brewery.
The 1965 capstone was removed during the renovations and commissioners hope to also acquire it.
Wally Thompson, who helped lead the campaign to build the current library, said the history in the capsule was a reminder of “how far we’ve come and what a wonderful facility it is for the county.”
Fair building fundraising to kick off in January
A community fundraising effort for a new multi-purpose building at the Park County Fairgrounds will start with the new year.
Park County commissioners are planning a $2.6 million facility to replace the aging complex of exhibit halls at the fairgrounds. They’ve pledged $1.6 million from county coffers and are seeking $500,000 from the state of Wyoming, but the remaining $500,000 will need to come from the community.
The Park County Fair Board is spearheading the fundraising campaign and at commissioners’ request, Fair Board President Mike Demoney said in an update to the commission.
“We’re still in the process of figuring out what we actually want to do,” Demoney said, but one initial idea includes selling etched bricks that would be placed in or near the new building.
He said the fundraising group will need to figure out how to approach businesses about supporting the project and reach individuals around the county “because it’s more than Powell.”
Commissioners also picked the brains of three Powell applicants for an available seat on the fair board.
Citing Powell’s roots in agriculture and interest in motorized recreation, Gerald May suggested the fairgrounds host roping events, some off-highway vehicle races or perhaps mud bogging and put profits towards the new building.
May’s excited about a new space where larger community events and banquets could be held.
“That building’s going to be an awesome building,” he said.
Another applicant, Russ Graham, said he thinks the project will find community members willing to support it.
“It’s a giving community,” Graham said.
Veteran fair board member Steve Martin, who re-applied for another four years on the board, said he’s very interested in helping fundraise for the building and has some ideas.
“The key to a fundraising effort like this is to get as many people involved as you possibly can,” said Commissioner Joe Tilden.
Demoney said the campaign will likely kick off with a January dinner where people would get a look at what the building will look like.
“And hopefully somebody decides they want to give like $6 million,” he half-joked. An initial design for the building had carried a roughly $6 million price tag that commissioners said had to be scaled back; features like conference rooms have since been removed.
The county should learn Jan. 16 whether the State Loan and Investment Board will provide the requested $500,000 for the project.
County board to shrink?
Commissioners are considering shrinking the size of one of the county’s volunteer boards after again having fewer applicants than open positions.
The county received just one application for the Park County Historic Preservation Commission for two open seats.
The advisory board “helps with archaeological and historic preservation issues for the county, including nominations to the National Register of Historic Places,” according to the Park County website. French said they’ve struggled to fill the seven-member board.
“It’s too many board members, in my opinion,” he said, suggesting going to five members.
The preservation commission originally had nine members, was cut to five due to a lack of interest in 2005 then expanded to seven in 2009 after a board member said there was renewed interest.
Commissioners indicated they’ll look into trimming the board’s membership through attrition.