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Putting time in a box

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Fifty years from now, Glenwood Springs residents will look back to this year as they open up a time capsule placed beneath a new entrance sign to town.For those responsible for the time capsule, the project became an exercise in not only sending a message to Glenwood’s future residents, but also wondering what the future has in store for the community they love.The city’s Historic Preservation Commission members installed the time capsule in the foundation of the red sandstone welcome sign they recently put up near the city’s main Interstate 70 exit. Crews also erected a similar sign at the West Glenwood I-70 exit and will put up a third one on Highway 82 in south Glenwood.Gretchen Ricehill, a city planner, said the idea to place a time capsule under one of the signs came from the signs’ carver, Martin Cooney of Woody Creek.With only about a month to work with before the sign’s foundation was installed, the commission members embraced the idea and set about determining what the capsule should contain. They focused on what message they wanted to send to the future, and decided that first they wanted to convey the significance of the welcome signs.”We wanted people to know what the city was like in 2006, and that’s why we included street map information and the map of activity sites, things important from a tourist standpoint,” Ricehill said.The time capsule, which includes a letter from the commission to the city residents of 2056, also seeks to emphasize what residents value about the city today and hope to preserve for the future.”We kind of brought everything down to the character of the city, how much of the character of the city is going to change in the future,” Ricehill said.The capsule includes information about historically important Glenwood buildings. And the commission members also speculate in their letter about whether car-based commuters will be replaced by users of a “supersonic train” or other form of transit that better protects local wildlife and open spaces. They also wonder whether, despite current efforts to protect surrounding ridges from development, homes may dot hills due to “a population boom we cannot even imagine.”

“Whatever the case may be, we hope that you, the citizens of the future, are enjoying living in Glenwood Springs as much as we did,” the letter continues. “We also hope that you are successfully preserving and restoring some of the city’s architectural and historical treasures of our past.”So where did the commission go to find a time capsule?”As luck would have it, I had one,” Ricehill said. “Isn’t that kind of weird? I mean, who has a time capsule?”Ricehill’s husband, Ernie, is a Winnebago Indian and helped get funding for a hospital on the tribe’s reservation in Nebraska. The tribe sent him to California to visit a time capsule company in search of a container for use at the hospital, and the company gave the couple one to keep for themselves. It’s about 4 inches in diameter and 11 inches in length.That’s lot smaller than the one the tribe settled on. It was perhaps 3 feet tall and a foot square, Ricehill said.She said the time capsule she donated to the city is stainless steel, and sealed with a rubber gasket.Ricehill is 46 now. She said it would be fun to still be around when the capsule is opened.”There’s always hope; who knows?” she said with a laugh. “It would be quite a long shot but we’ll see.”Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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