Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Capsules Will Offer Peeks at Bygone Eras

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Capsules Will Offer Peeks at Bygone Eras

Article excerpt

As part of the Viva Florida 500 celebration, the Sarasota County Historical Commission, along with Sarasota County Libraries, is planning to include a time capsule to be placed at Historic Spanish Point.

The contents of the capsule have not been firmly established and the group is seeking the public's input, but plans include photographs and memorabilia of contemporary Sarasota.

The capsule will be opened in 2071 for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the county's creation.

A number of capsules have been enshrined in Sarasota. When the granite cornerstone to the new Sarasota County Courthouse was set on May 12, 1926 by the local Masonic Lodge, it was an important day for the young county.

All the schools were closed at noon so students could attend the dedication ceremony. As they sang the opening hymn, "the men of the county took off their hats and lowered their eyes in thankfulness."

The structure, which reportedly cost $1 million, was said to "be the finest of its kind on the Gulf Coast," a source of pride for a county only four years old. Hundreds attended as Judge Carrie Fish, who presided over the affair with members of the county commission, placed inside the cornerstone documents relating to Sarasota's relatively brief history.

No date was set for the time capsule's opening -- perhaps the county may consider 2021, the 100-year anniversary of our founding.

When the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Chidsey Library, 701 N. Tamiami Trail, was held on May 11, 1941, World War II was raging in Europe and the news was filled with accounts of Nazi triumphs. These were distressing times -- the headline of that day's Herald, "Six-Hour Nazi Raid Leaves Whole London Blocks Afire" -- and while the new library was an occasion to celebrate, the contents of time capsule reflected tragic events.

1941 and '55 thoughts

An edition of the Sarasota Herald was placed in a copper tube, so that "future generations will read the history-shattering days on 1941." That day's editorial noted that they did not know when or if the paper would ever be seen. "It may never be read, if, at some future day, a blitzkrieg of bombers devastates Sarasota as are many towns in Europe ... in the savage war now being waged."

The paper ended on an optimistic note: "However, if and when the tube is opened, we want the Sarasota citizens of that day to know that the people of Sarasota of 1941 were happy and contented and forward looking folk. ... We cherish the hope that they will remember us gratefully for what we have done to prepare for them a place in which they may live and work and play under conditions favorable to a happy and contented life."

When Maas Brothers department store laid the cornerstone for its new building in 1955, they placed a time capsule inside to be opened 10 years later. …

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