Time capsule unlatches Powell's past

Posted 5/2/06

It was part of the continuing chronicles of the Powell Centennial celebration: Opening a time capsule planted by our predecessors during a centennial celebration, which likely was similar to this year's revelry.

The time capsule was a copper box. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Time capsule unlatches Powell's past


{gallery}06_30_09/homesteader{/gallery} Dick Wilder (left), Nola Christoffersen and Homesteader Museum Curator Rowene Weems look over the 1959 copy of the Powell Tribune retrieved from the time capsule buried during Powell's 50th Golden Jubilee celebration opened for the centennial celebration last week. Wilder and Christoffersen also were present when the time capsule was buried in 1959. Tribune photo by Don Amend This is like Christmas for Rowene (Weems),” Powell Mayor Scott Mangold said Saturday as he reached into a time capsule planted by Powellites 50 years ago.Indeed, after donning white gloves Saturday morning, Weems, curator/director of the Homesteader Museum, lovingly examined each 50-year-old artifact before carefully placing it in a special display case for all of Powell — and all the world, for that matter — to see.

It was part of the continuing chronicles of the Powell Centennial celebration: Opening a time capsule planted by our predecessors during a centennial celebration, which likely was similar to this year's revelry.

The time capsule was a copper box. Part of the lid was pealed away like a jagged-edged tin can. Mangold wore white gloves too, as though the items therein were treasures — treasures to a community 50 years ago and the assembled crowd of roughly 175 on Saturday.

The first item out was a Golden Jubilee banner, a silken pennant designating the 50-year celebration.

Shaver permits popped out next. “Brothers of the Brush” buttons authorizing Powell guys to grow beards in honor of John Wesley Powell or just for the fun of it like the fellows did just a month or so ago.

A 1958 Powell Panther's yearbook drew cheers from the audience packed into the museum, and likely a few golden memories as well, as did the next book, the 1959 “Rendezvous.”

Mangold pulled out a Northwest Community College 1959 bulletin. That was of interest to Dick Wilder. Wilder, and his wife, Marge, were among the class of 1946, when Northwest was the Powell branch of the University of Wyoming.

Next came thick rolls of newspapers, editions of The Powell Tribune that will provide historians with a first-hand glimpse of life in Powell 50 years ago.

A telephone book, approximately 8-inches by 6 1/2-inches, included Powell and the surrounding area as far as Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. It might remind folks that fewer people called northwest Wyoming their home a half century ago.

Right up Mangold's alley, perhaps, was a booklet of revised ordinances for the town of Powell.

A stack of wooden nickels included in the old capsule were reminders that some things never change. Newly-minted wooden nickels honoring this year's centennial are circulating around town now.

A photograph of Powell's Golden Jubilee Queen, Mrs. Vi Freimarck, also was included in the capsule.

Freimarck drove a pink Cadillac and ran the Skyline Cafe, said Nola Christoffersen, who was 29 when the capsule was encased.

“I was in the royalty because I sold tickets — to something. Don't ask me what,” Christoffersen said.

But according to the June 23, 1959, Tribune, she placed fourth in the Jubilee Queen contest.

Once regal, always regal. Christoffersen was getting plenty of hugs from well wishers after the capsule ceremony.

Western Union telegrams, in big bold print, were what faxes and e-mails are today. Mangold discovered a thick stack of telegrams, including salutes from Sen. Gale McGee, R-Wyo., and Secretary of State Jack Gage.

A commemorative Golden Jubilee plate with gold inlays pulled from the box found a place of honor in Weems' display.

A pinstriped Jubilee vest resembled a cloth barber's pole. Included was a ribbon-like bow tie that would have made the perfect ensemble if the wearer 50 years ago had a straw bowler hat.

Picturing the past, perhaps the slightly-rumpled bowler hat included in the capsule was designed to accompany a sharp-dressed man of 1959 with Jubilee vest, tie and bowler.

Powell Centennial Committee member Ron Blevins, standing on the stage behind the mayor, pulled a slick practical joke by dropping his car keys in the capsule.

Heedless of the gag, Mangold's last draw was Blevins' keys that included an electronic fob for unlocking car doors.

Even Mangold, expert at thinking/speaking on his feet during radio broadcasts, was for a moment, speechless.

However, the audience wasn't, and enjoyed a warm chuckle at the mayor's good-natured expense.

After Saturday's capsule ceremony, centennial gift items and centennial dogs were sold. There were games and buggy rides for the kids.

It was a perfect afternoon to cap the perfect historical event. A light breeze stroking sunshine, the smell of Centennial dogs roasting and the sound of kids playing games in the grass.

Mangold said he was not sure what the protocol was for opening a time capsule. Likely, Powell leaders in 50 years won't either.

One item that Mangold plans to plant in this year's capsule is a DVD chronicling the Centennial celebration events.

Other someday artifacts will include a global-positioning-system tour of Powell created by Powell High School students and a Powell Centennial T-shirt and cap. The list will be finalized as the celebration continues.

A few of the treasures:

• Telegrams

• Booklet of city ordinances

• 1958 PHS yearbook

• Bowler hat

• Pinstriped Jubilee vest

• ‘Brother of the Brush' beard contest buttons

• Wooden nickels

• Telephone book

• Editions of the Powell Tribune