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Charlottesville Prepares for Time Capsule Burial

December 5, 2012

In just more than two weeks, the Charlottesville community will bury its 250th anniversary time capsule to be opened in 2062.

After opening a time capsule earlier this year, the city's leaders have learned a few things about what to do and what not to do.

"We were able to get a glimpse of what life was like 50 years ago," city councilor Dede Smith said of the time capsule's unearthing in May.

When it was pulled out of the ground near the Charlottesville Circuit Court building, the steel box featured a film reel, newspapers, programs, brochures and commemorative memorabilia from 1962.

"The one thing we learned is that you can't assume something is always going to be water tight," said Steven Meeks, co-chair of the Celebrate! 250 events.

The box did not stand up to moisture, and many items were damaged or destroyed.

But now, it's time to look forward.

"You can imagine what Charlottesville might look like 50 years from now," Smith said. "It'll be very different."

The city is gathering items to put in its next time capsule. Instead of going underground, the box will be within the walls of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society building at the corner of Second and Jefferson streets to ensure longevity.

"Hopefully, we will be giving them enough information and enough documentation that they will be able to get a good glimpse of what life was like today in 2012," Meeks said.

Letters from Mayor Satyendra Huja and UVa. President Teresa Sullivan, yearbooks from city schools, government documents and souvenirs from the Celebrate! 250 campaign will all be included in the 250th anniversary box. These items and more will offer Charlottesville residents of the future a unique perspective.

"I just think it'll be, historically, a really interesting glimpse into the past which is today, the present," Smith said.

The time capsule will be buried on Dec. 23, exactly 250 years to the day of the legislation that passed allowing Charlottesville to become a city.

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