Time in a bottle

City unearths 25-year-old capsule filled with Roseville memorabilia
By: Megan Wood The Press-Tribune
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For the last 25 years, Saugstad Park in Roseville had hidden buried treasure. Last week, in commemoration of Roseville’s upcoming centennial, city representatives and the Roseville chapter of Soroptimists International recovered the time capsule they buried in 1984 when Roseville celebrated its 75th birthday. “We put out an advertisement in The Press-Tribune letting people know that we were gathering things to put in and anything we got went in,” said Sandee Alway, Roseville Soroptimist assistant treasurer. “I remembered some of what was in there, but there were a few surprises too, which was fun.” Among the 75 items preserved in the capsule was a copy of the city’s $30 million budget from 1984, several commemorative pins and buttons including an “I love Roseville” button and an original Soroptimist membership pin. “Seeing that took my breath away. They don’t make them anymore,” said Melba Erven, a member since 1953. “Now they’re made out of plastic. Seeing the original pin was very exciting.” One of the most amazing things to Alway was how well the time capsule preserved the documents and artifacts that have survived the last 25 years underground and through two floods. “I am very pleased with how well they held up,” said Alway who, in 1984 had commissioned R.L. Nelson Plumbing and Roseville Sheet Metal to build the 12-inch box that was recovered last Thursday. Each of the items was then vacuum-sealed in plastic by the Roseville Frozen Food bank and the capsule sealed with none other than duct tape. “Considering the technology we had then, I think we did the best we could with what we had and I’m very excited that it all survived,” she said. The only item that was ruined was a black and white, aerial view photo of Roseville taken in February 1984. “I was really surprised that it was still here,” said Soroptimist member Edith Hensley. “When we put it in there I was skeptical, I thought it would never last especially after the floods.” The recovered items from the 75th anniversary time capsule will be on display in the foyer of City Hall starting Friday through April 18. The city will select a few of the 75th anniversary items to be buried along with a new time capsule celebrating Roseville’s centennial that will be buried in front of city hall on April 18. “Time capsules are a gift to those who will open it in the future and see what we thought would be important for them to know about us as a community now,” said Deputy City Manager Julia Burrows. “Seeing the 75th has really got us thinking about what we want people 50 years from now to know about what was important to Roseville.” Burrows said that pop culture items like those chronicling the 2008 election or modern day technology that are a part of everyday life might be some things to consider for the next capsule. “It’s about preserving the city’s history and taking special care to remember the original families who came first,” Burrows said. “But it’s also a treasure chest, like a snapshot of a point in time for the future and what’s important for future generations to know about us and where Roseville has been.” To make suggestions for the centennial time capsule, log on to the city’s Web site at