Sunday, December 27, 2015

1988 newspaper article details contents of Frisco City, Ala. time capsule

Time capsule is located beneath cement marker at right.
(Over the years, I’ve had a number of people contact me about the time capsule that’s located at Jones Park in downtown Frisco City. Many have wanted to know what was buried in the time capsule, and I honestly couldn't say because I didn't know for sure. I’ve kept my eyes open for information about this time capsule over the years and a few weeks ago, I ran across a great article that includes just about everything you’d want to know about the time capsule.

The article below, which was originally published in the Dec. 22, 1988 edition of The Monroe Journal newspaper, was written by Anna Thibodeaux and appeared under the headline, “Frisco saves history in time capsule.” If anyone out there knows anything else about this time capsule, that’s not included in the article, please contact me and let me know.)

Headline: "Frisco saves history in time capsule"

By Anna Thibodeaux

A bit of Frisco City’s history was preserved on Saturday when town officials buried a time capsule in a vault at Jones Park.

Minutes before sealing the steel box containing the material, Mayor Billy McCrory enclosed a Christmas card and a copy of the New Testament. He then read aloud letters written by Probate Judge Otha Lee Biggs and himself, also stored in the capsule, to commemorate the event.

In the first letter, Biggs congratulated Frisco City on celebrating its 100th birthday this year and said he was pleased to have attended the celebration held in October. And he provided copies of The Monroe Journal outlining the county’s industrial growth and a video being used to draw new industry to the area.

The judge’s letter concluded: “Maybe, just maybe, with the great strides in medical science that a few Monroe countians who are living today will attend your second centennial celebration. Congratulations to the people of Frisco City on this special day in the life of your city.”

As workmen began covering the steel box with sand, McCrory read his letter:

“Congratulations on your 200th birthday. It is my fondest hope that when you read this all of you are enjoying good health, peace and prosperity. It is a chilly day today, the sun is shining brightly, and it is a beautiful day. Christmas is almost here, and most people today are preparing for the busy holiday season. All of us today wish you a happy birthday and a merry Christmas in 2088.”

In gathering material for the capsule, townspeople strove “to give a view of who they are today so that the people 100 years from now can better understand those who came before them,” McCrory said later.

“This is truly an historic occasion,” McCrory said as he assisted with burying the capsule. Retired contractor Ollie Wiggins designed and built the project.

The steel box, 36 inches long by 24 inches deep by 24 inches wide, was designed to hold nine tubes made of PVC pipe. The box probably weighs about 150 pounds with contents. It was sealed with tar and lead coating at the site to preserve the contents.

Encasing the capsule is a bunker or vault which is about three feet below the surface and about 1.5 feet above ground. The bunker has concrete walls about 12 inches thick, reinforced with steel rods running from bottom to top.

Only one more task remains to finish the job. McCrory said they are waiting on arrival of a plaque that will be placed atop the vault. It will identify the capsule, contents and time of enclosure, and specify that it should not be opened until 2088.

The capsule is jam-packed full of an assortment of memorabilia. If one could peek inside, here are some of the items he might find:

-         A card with the greeting “Merry Christmas to the people of Frisco City from the people of Frisco City,” signed by McCrory; the family history of Ollie Wiggins, as well as many, many others from Frisco City families and the area; a book, “Taxes and Termites,” written by the late A.V. “Shorty” Culpepper, a packet filled with news articles about the county’s major industrial growth (Alabama River Pulp Co. and the coming newsprint plant); a videotape used for industrial recruitment.

-         An historical news bulletin about Monroe County and surrounding counties published by Southern Quarterly; a 1988 Monroe County telephone book; the Nov. 1 issue of Time magazine, reporting results of the presidential election; a 1988 calendar; a Ladies Birthday Almanac; promotional information, including a pamphlet, about Patrick Henry State Junior College; aerial photos of Frisco City;

-         The Oct. 27 and Dec. 15 issues of The Monroe Journal, as well as numerous other articles about the centennial celebration and town growth; a copy of the Frisco City Woman’s Club yearbook; a copy of The County View, a local shopper/newspaper; a copy of a Frisco City centennial pamphlet designed by the Chamber of Commerce; a quarterly publication by the Monroe County Museum & Historical Society featuring Frisco’s history; a December issue of Southern Pine Electric Cooperative’s magazine, featuring the centennial celebration and quilter Mona Hendrix of Frisco City; numerous photos about the 1988 Christmas parade.

-         More centennial memorabilia – wooden nickels, a T-shirt, hat, cup and button; special Coca Cola bottles bearing the names of Auburn University, the University of Alabama, Frisco City – all unopened and included to note that the soft drink was once bottled in Frisco, dating back to when it was called Jones Mill; letters telling how the chamber planned and held the centennial celebration; color photos of the caboose in Jones Park, First Baptist Church, United Methodist Church and Frisco City High School.

-         Photos of the firehouse; a roster of volunteer firemen, an article about how Grady Gaston of Frisco City survived World War II; an article about an interview with Mr. and Mrs. Pete Beard of Frisco City entitled, “Frisco City – A Little Piece of Heaven”; assorted information from the Monroe County Board of Education; Frisco City High School’s 1988 yearbook, with the cover removed so it could be rolled up in a tube; journal entries written by FCHS students about life today in their town; rosters and photos from the Police Department; historical documents, copies of old meeting minutes, and employee rosters from Monroeville City Hall.

-         McCrory’s family history dating back to the 16th century in Ireland, as well as the histories and photographs of many other families; a roster, bulletin and other information from the United Methodist Church; similar material from First Baptist Church, plus a roster of current and former pastors and the church history; letters from families addressed to the town; and old Snoopy watch (it doesn’t work); and a two-ounce bottle of Dr. Tichenor’s mouthwash.

McCrory, a pharmacist, explained that he believes the mouthwash will be a collectible in 100 years.

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