Time capsule copped

December 22, 2000

Time capsule copped


A time capsule buried in 1976 at Hagerstown's City Park was opened earlier than expected, but not by members of the youth group that placed it there.

Thieves used two metal bars to pry open a rock enclosure containing the capsule near the entrance to Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

The time capsule was placed at the park by a Community Action Council youth group who planned for it to be opened after 50 years.

A maintenance worker at the museum noticed the time capsule was taken in September and reported it the Hagerstown City Police. The Herald-Mail learned of the theft last week.


Two metal bars which apparently were used to pry the capsule free from its enclosure were found lying on the ground nearby, according to the police report.

Lt. Gary Spielman said the investigation has stalled for lack of evidence.

A plaque which had been attached to the time capsule was left at the site. The inscription said it was presented by the youth group on July 7, 1976 and was to be "opened by the people of this area on July 7, 2026."

Designed and constructed by Jamison Door Co. of Hagerstown, the vacuum-sealed time capsule was made of stainless steel. It was 18 inches in diameter and three inches long.

Community Action Council representatives were unaware the time capsule had been taken until notified by The Herald-Mail.

"It's unbelievable," said administrative assistant Debbie Harris.

A 30-year CAC employee, Harris said she remembered the now-defunct youth group placing a time capsule somewhere but had forgotten where. No one else at the office remembered either, she said.

"Nobody knew where it was. We were trying to find it," said Harris.

This year the CAC will celebrate its 35th anniversary and employees were hoping to open the time capsule in honor of it, she said.

"It's so disappointing. Why would someone do something like that?" she asked.

Harris said she remembered there was a ceremony when the time capsule was placed in the park. Inside the time capsule was a current newspaper and proclamation telling who was responsible for it.

An inventory of other items in the time capsule hasn't been found, she said. Harris and other employees at CAC were unable to recall any of the people who took part in the project.

CAC Executive Director Cheryl Moyer Walkley said they plan to search their files to find out what may have been inside the time capsule and who may have been involved.

Walkley said she didn't think there was anything valuable inside the time capsule but they still would like the items back.

"No questions asked," she said.

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