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1972 Time capsule contents revealed at city hall



Today’s event at city hall in Jackson has been 50 years in the making.

The contents of the sesquicentennial time capsule for 1972 were revealed at city hall, the journey to this moment has been a bumpy one for the time capsule committee.

The committee knew that the time capsule was at Muse park, but they did not know what it looked like. They did not expect a 6500-pound concrete burial vault when they dug it up on June 1st and they definitely didn’t expect it to be full of water.

“That was a gut punch. And so we pivoted and we drained the water out. And we finally got the next day to where we felt comfortable opening the time capsule. And once we opened, you know, we discovered that the contents were ruined and we were just going to have to do our best," said Time Capsule Committee Chairman Trey Cleek.

Many were expecting to read letters that their family wrote to them fifty years ago.

"Based on the volume of the slides that we found we're guessing that over 90% of the contents of the time capsule were paper, be it a note, a letter, or maybe a photograph. And unfortunately, 99.9% of all of that was destroyed,” Cleek said.

But some of the items from the time capsule were saved, business and industry items, 150-year commemorative items, mementos from civic groups, and more. The time capsule committee saved the liquid that used to be letters and paper, "They contain the hopes and aspirations for our community," said Cleek.

Mayor Scott Conger is choosing to focus on the positives, "We're thankful for what artifacts we have seen. The time capsule unveiled when we got the top off, not knowing what was salvageable but having those artifacts here and be able to display them and just having those pieces that we can celebrate.”

But the time capsule saga isn’t over yet, "This process could take a lot longer to restore some of the items like the audio reels. We have found reel-to-reel audio reels and there were some cassette tapes in the capsule as well. They have been sent to professionals at the department of music at Middle Tennessee State University, and they are helping us," Cleek said.

The time capsule committee is looking to learn everything they can to preserve the contents in the bicentennial time capsule that will be opened in 2072. “That's an important thing to look at what we can do and how we can better prepare our time capsule for future generations," said Mayor Conger.

Trey Cleek says the new time capsule will be stainless steel instead of concrete and will include other measures to preserve the contents.

The contents of the 1972 time capsule are on display at City Hall Monday through Friday until August 15th.

The committee is accepting ideas for items to include in the bicentennial time capsule that will be buried on August 13th. Suggestions are due by July 15th and can be submitted at

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