1973 time capsule to be opened soon

Sean C. Morgan

In the next few weeks, Sweet Home High School will open a time capsule buried by students at the Sweet Home Wastewater Treatment Plant in 1973.

School officials are working out the details, and city officials are ready to assist.

A plaque beside the office building instructs that the time capsule be opened 40 years later – in 2013. No one dug it up.

“When I came on in June of last year, it was one of the things that was brought to my attention,” said Public Works Director Greg Springman. As the city began getting deeper into plans for a rehab and expansion project at the plant, he reached out to school officials.

“They found it,” said SHHS Principal Ralph Brown. “Nobody up here seemed to know much about it. It wasn’t on the radar of anybody on staff. It was fortunate the fellows down there brought it to our attention.”

Springman said he’s been told the school has “something in the works.” The last he heard, Public Works will dig it up and take it to the school and assist in opening the capsule.

School officials have talked about different ideas for opening the capsule since learning about it, Brown said. They’re working out a date and details for an official opening. Most likely, plans will be solidified in the next couple of weeks and the capsule opened after May Week.

No one really knows what to expect when the lid comes off.

It was 1973, Springman noted. Eight-tracks and records are likely; maybe “earth shoes.”

“It’s going to have a newspaper in it. You know it’s going to have a newspaper. After that, I can’t guess.”

“I did get a little bit of a reality check from one of our staff members,” Brown said. He had been involved in opening a time capsule before. Brown worries that water could have gotten into it, and everything in it may not “be as great. It’ll be interesting to see what they actually have.”

Staff have talked about replacing the time capsule, Brown said, but it’s just been talk at this point. Whatever they do, they’ll want to make sure it’s water-tight and safe over the decades.

Dean of Students Chris Hiaasen was in the eighth grade when the time capsule was buried. She reached out to the then-student body president and vice president, her brother-in-law Jared and sister Ann Roth.

“They had a vague memory of doing it,” Hiaasen said. They believe it was buried by George Wenzel and his students. Wenzel was a history teacher and activities director. He also advised the student government.

Hiassen said she guesses about a third of the Class of 1973 still lives in Sweet Home. She invites members of that class to contact her at the school.

“We want them to be there, be part of the opening,” Brown said.

Anyone looking for more information or who has more information should call Hiaasen at (541) 367-7139.