The Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society unveiled the contents of a 50-year-old time capsule during a ceremony at the Sparrows Point Country Club on June 2.
The event included hors d’oeuvres, music by Dr. Jay Walton and remarks from members of the Historical Society.
Attendees purchased raffle tickets for one of several baskets of cheer donated by local businesses, viewed old photos compiled by the Historical Society and submitted suggestions for items to be placed in a new time capsule, to be opened in 2067.
Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell, screwdriver in hand, did the honors, removing upwards of a dozen flathead screws to unveil the contents of the long-forgotten box.
The time capsule, bearing a plate reading “Do Not Open Until May 30, 2017, Contains Semi Centennial Celebration Material,” was re-discovered on a shelf in the basement of the Historical Society Museum in 2015. Members were cleaning out the basement, deciding which items to keep and which to purge, when they came across the wooden box.
The society held onto the box, deciding to unveil its contents during the centennial of Dundalk’s development as a town in 2017.
The contents of the box were largely unknown, save for a few clues.
While doing research, society members came across a May 30, 1968, article in The Community Press reporting on the culmination of Dundalk’s Semi-Centennial Celebration during that year’s Memorial Day parade.
The parade was set to travel from Logan Village to the new veterans monument at what was called Dundalk Park (today, Veterans Park). The monument was dedicated on that day and relatives of veterans killed in war were urged to submit envelopes containing their relatives’ name, serial number and date and place of death.
“The sealed envelopes will be placed in a copper box to be placed in the base of the monument,” the article noted. “Other items of interest also will be put in the box, which is to be opened in the year 2017.”
Intrigued, Historical Society members visited the now 50-year-old veterans memorial, but did not see how a box could be placed into its base. Could their time capsule be the one referred to in the article?
Suspense mounted as Councilman Crandell removed each screw, one by one, but as the wooden lid was lifted, the presence of a copper box inside revealed the truth.
On the lid and inside of the box, the names of Semi-Centennial Committee members were etched.
Donning white gloves, Historical Society president Jean Walker and member Rose Benton lifted the copper lid and found the envelopes containing the veterans’ information. These envelopes remain sealed; they will be given to the American Legion to be read on Veterans Day in November.
The time capsule also contained the first Dundalk flag, designed by Dundalk Senior High School senior Janet Forte in 1967. Forte’s design was selected during a contest opened to all Dundalk and Patapsco high school students during Dundalk’s Semi-Centennial year.
Also of interest was an old menu from the now-closed Minnick’s restaurant. Daniel Minnick who, along with his brother, the late former Del. Joseph “Sonny” Minnick, owned the local landmark, was on hand for the ceremony. Minnick, who had been a member of the Semi-Centennial Committee, did not remember the time capsule and was as stunned as anyone upon seeing his old menu.
The revelation of the capsule’s contents, Minnick said, “brings tears to my eyes.”
The capsule also included old newspapers and, curiously, Memorial Day parade programs dating well into the 1970s, added to the capsule long after it was supposed to have been sealed.
Walker called the presence of the newer programs “a mystery,” adding that “the only person who would know who was there is Dan Minnick, and he doesn’t remember.”
The contents of the time capsule were put on public display at the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society and Museum, 4 Center Place in the Dundalk Village Shopping Center, beginning June 3.
Proceeds from the time capsule opening benefited the non-profit Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society and Museum.
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