Time capsule dug up during River Forest library renovations

The capsule contained materials from 1980s events

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Construction workers who are landscaping the front lawn of the River Forest Public Library were digging last week when they found a surprise — a broken plastic container that held a little bit of history.

Library staff who opened the capsule were taken back to 1980, the year when the village celebrated its centennial. There were old newspaper articles about the hostage crisis in Iran. A scrapbook showed pictures of residents enjoying the picnic held in honor of the anniversary. Old T-shirts bearing the village logo, designed by an eighth grade student in a contest at the time, sat untouched in plastic bags.

Blaise Dierks, head of adult services at the library, said no one expected the materials to be found, and she suspected library staff may have helped put together the scrapbook.

Dierks said it was wonderful for the staff to be able to see all the work that went into the centennial. The scrapbook contained meeting minutes from the commission of residents in charge of planning the activities. In addition to the picnic, they held a Transportation Day — from which they saved an old train conductor hat — a bake-off, a ball, a house walk and a show by the Garden Club of Oak Park and River Forest.

They planned to re-bury the capsule this week, along with a 2012 capsule they will create with library-related items, Dierks said, like pictures of staff, an eReader and a magazine that shows what's going on in the library world today. Another time capsule uncovered during the front lawn renovation was from an Eagle Scout project in 2005, and that will also be re-buried. Dierks said the boys who buried that one were looking for the 1980 capsule and couldn't find it at the time.

And to make sure that the 1980 capsule is not disturbed again, Dierks attached a note to it explaining that it was found and asking that it not be opened again until the bicentennial in 2080.

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