Historians asking public to help fill time capsule

SALEM – Local historians are looking for the public’s help in finding items representative of Salem in 2013 to place in a time capsule honoring the late Dale Shaffer’s legacy and preserving the current era.

“We’ll be long gone in 50 years, but people will remember. We really want the public’s input…I want other people to feel part of this project. All of us contributing make this project a success,” Judi Allio said.

Allio is chairing the Dale Shaffer Legacy Time Capsule Committee of the Salem Historical Society. She also chaired the garden party last August which celebrated the opening of the Dale Shaffer Research Library, a facility funded with money left by Shaffer, the Salem historian who died in 2009.

The time capsule burial is planned for 2 p.m. May 5 in front of the Dale Shaffer Research Library on Dale Shaffer Way, followed by a reception.

The event will not only recognize the addition of the library to the Salem Historical Society campus, but also kick off the 2013 tour season for the museums and celebrate Shaffer’s birthday, which occurs in April.

“We want to honor him,” Allio said.

The time capsule will become home to numerous pieces of Shaffer memorabilia, such as his familiar cap, some of his books about Salem history and some about other topics, blueprints from the library construction and items from the garden party, including a piece of ribbon and pair of scissors from the ribbon cutting and photographs and newspaper clippings from that day.

According to Allio, Shaffer’s childhood friend, Lou Raymond, plans to contribute a marble and something he wrote about how they played marbles together when they were kids. Objects found in the ground when the earth was being cleared for the library construction will be included, along with decorative furniture and wood pieces Shaffer made.

Suggestions for items reminiscent of 2013 will include an American Flag, Holy Bible, personal letters, news articles, a 2013 phone book, toys, church directories, menus, business and organization brochures, Salem photographs, school and sport photos and information, magazines, stamps, a credit card, a cell phone and anything else area residents can suggest.

Allio said all suggestions will be carefully considered by the time capsule committee. Items can be mailed to the Salem Historical Society, 208 S. Broadway Ave., Salem, Ohio 44460 or delivered to the Dale Shaffer Research Library at 239 S. Lundy Ave. Call the Salem Historical Society at 330-337-8514 with questions and content suggestions.

The time capsule committee is receiving help from Butech-Bliss, Salem Welding and Stark Memorial to fabricate the actual inner and outer capsules, to do the air/gas exchange and sealing, and provide the actual burial vault.

Committee members besides Allio include SHS Director David Stratton, museum curator Janice Lesher, SHS President David Shivers, and SHS Trustee Alice Deatherage.

Plans call for time capsule content to be displayed at the SHS monthly meeting the second Tuesday in April, on April 9. After that, everything will be wrapped in archival paper and labeled and the capsule will be packed.

Allio explained that in order to preserve everything inside until the time capsule is opened in 2063, the air must be sucked out and the capsule filled with argon gas before it is sealed, both the inner capsule and outer capsule. Then the capsule will be placed in the vault and the vault will be closed for lowering into the ground. Henry Spack will dig the hole with a backhoe.

Allio was there when the time capsule buried in 1956 for Salem’s sesquicentennial was unearthed on the grounds of the Salem Public Library in 2006 as part of the city’s bicentennial celebration.

“Everything looked like it had been packed the night before,” she said, noting that everything was pristine because they did a good gas and air exchange.

Frank Chuck, who helped bury the sesquicentennial time capsule, was also there when it was opened. He threw the first shovel of dirt when the bicentennial time capsule was buried in 2006 and he’ll again be invited to toss some dirt for the Dale Shaffer Legacy Time Capsule. The Baker family from Salem Welding will again be involved in sealing the capsule, just as they were for the bicentennial time capsule.

When she saw the extreme care taken by the committee from 1956, Allio said it touched her heart and she wants to do the same “to show what we did to preserve Salem’s rich history.”