Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Somerville NJ Time Capsule Opened reports on the opening of a time capsule after fifty years.

Fifty years to the date after it was buried in 1959, a time capsule was opened on the grounds of Borough Hall in Somerville on Friday evening.

The items found inside the roughly 25-inch diameter 3-foot-long metal cylinder offer a glimpse at life in Somerville during the middle of the 20th Century, said Mayor Brian Gallagher.

One of the items is a letter from then Somerville Mayor Walter Scott to the current mayor.

Among the other items contained within the capsule are newspaper issues and business cards from the period, photographs, blank public school report cards, a check from a local bank for the sum of zero dollars and zero cents, a letter from PSE&G listing electricity and natural gas rates in 1959, and a model toy car.

"There are a number of wonderful documents in there," Gallagher said. "It ranges from the government to the personal and everything in between. Just a lot a neat old stuff."

"It's giving us a glimpse at what transpired 50 years ago," he said. "It's a slice of what Somerville life was like."

David Hollod, a former Somerville mayor said, "I look upon it really as keeping a promise that was made. The people in 1959 were obviously very excited about celebrating the borough's 50th anniversary."

"The nice thing about the 50-year time frame is that there are a lot of people who are still around who were there when the time capsule was put in the ground 50 years ago," he said. "There are still a lot of community connections."

I was thinking that 50 years is too long now. The way technology is improving, maybe 20 years or even 10 would be enough. Ten years ago we could have buried a time capsule with one of those flat, black "floppy" computer discs. Remember them? My kids, who use 2GB pen drives for sharing music and videos and homework, would laugh out loud at those things.

What do you think? Do you find time capsules fascinating?


  1. I don't think 50 years is long enough for a time capsule. With only 50 years there really is plenty of living memory sources to describe the events of the day. 1959? My dad was a kid and had some metal toys like those probably included. He can tell me all about them. But if this were from say 1909, there would be a lot more treasure of significant historical value to sift through.

    I think I mentioned here before that our village buried one in 1987 during the town's Centennial with the idea that it would be opened at our bicentennial in 2087. I will not be around to watch but I hope I have grandchildren that are there.

  2. FWM, Thanks for that take on it. I guess you're right the best effect would be when no one alive could remember the period of the time capsule burial. But what about that exponential trajectory the technological advancements are on?