Time capsule preserving Dale Shaffer’s legacy to be buried

SALEM – Time stands still for no one, not even the late Salem historian Dale Shaffer, except when it’s carefully preserved in a capsule representing his time in history and the history of a city he loved.

Salem historians will bury the Dale Shaffer Legacy Time Capsule in a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday on the front lawn of the research library that bears his name, another fitting tribute to a man who kept track of everything Salem.

“We bury this time capsule in memory of Dale, and in thanksgiving to the wonderful legacy that he left to the city of Salem,” Judi Allio said.

Allio serves as chairman of the Dale Shaffer Legacy Time Capsule Committee, a group which has worked for several months preparing for the burial and gathering material to place inside the time capsule representative of Dale Shaffer and the year 2013 in Salem.

The time capsule weighs in at 460 pounds, with the vault measuring 25 inches wide, 51 inches long and 26 inches high.

According to a press release issued by Allio, the aluminum inner capsule and steel outer capsule were fabricated by Fred and Tom Baker of Salem Welding & Supply Co. Once members of the Salem Historical Society and committee filled the inner capsule with more than 350 collected items, Salem Welding welded it shut, removed the air and charged it with argon gas. The inner capsule was then placed inside the steel outer capsule, and the air exchange process was repeated.

Salem Welding placed the capsule into a vault provided by Russell Loudon of Stark Memorial, which will then be delivered to the site on Sunday morning.

She wrote that Henry Spack of Henry Spack Service Inc. will excavate the hole in which the vault will be placed on the front lawn of the Dale Shaffer Research Library, where it will remain for the next 50 years.

John and Jock Buta of Butech Bliss have donated an engraved stone marker which will be placed on the site once the ground has settled, marking the location of the time capsule to be unearthed in 2063. The library just opened last August, funded with money left by Shaffer, who died in 2009.

Besides the time capsule burial, the Salem Historical Society will celebrate Shaffer’s birthday, which occurred in April, and the kickoff of the 2013 tour season for the SHS museums. A cookie reception and tours of the library building will follow the burial ceremony.

Allio recalled 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.

She said everything was pristine when it came out, crediting a good air exchange.

Perhaps time did stand still.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at mgreier@salemnews.net