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Barry Schrader


I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Looking Back
  • Valley Times : Do You Remember?
  • The Independent : Do You Remember?

The Articles appear in the Herald and Independent on Thursdays,
and the Times on Sundays.

They will also be found on this page each week as well.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

Archive Page

Time capsule history still in the making

By Barry Schrader.................................January 5, 2006

December 28, 2005 will be another gold letter day for time capsules in the valley’s history as the Livermore Youth Commission filled its container at the LARPD Community Center with turn-of-the-century memorabilia targeting the teen crowd.

At about the same time I learned of another time capsule to add to Livermore’s lore of lost or little-known capsules, now totaling no less than eight with this latest find. Valley historian Don Meeker came across an article in the February 1936 Livermore paper telling about the rededication of the remodeled city hall at First and McLeod. In the article it reveals that a cornerstone box was placed nearby.

The list of contents for this now 70 year-old box makes one want to open it just to enjoy the well-aged wine. Bottles listed among the contents were a Sauterne souvenir from Cresta Blanca, a Gold Medal Sherry from Concannon, a Gold Medal Burgundy from Carlo Ferrario, and a Gold Medal Chateau Yquem from Wentes. Some other items included a Sinclair dollar donated by a city councilor, old city marshal star provided by the police department, and an unidentified coin from another councilmember present. A number of local histories from various civic, fraternal and religious organizations were included as well as several copies of local papers from the area.

Don’t you think it behooves the Livermore Heritage Guild to recover these lost treasures before they fade into obscurity again? I’ll volunteer to bring the corkscrew!

Getting back to the recently-sealed capsule, the Youth Commission smartly decided to keep an eye on it so the fate that befell their elders’ capsule in Centennial Park will not happen this time. The container will be built into a coffee table being crafted by former councilman Mark Beeman and a plastic shell put around it so it can be seen, but not disturbed until 2035 when they determined it shall be opened. Members and guests at the ceremony last week signed the capsule exterior so people can see who was there.

The container itself has an international angle worth mentioning. It was originally designed by Sandia as a safe shipping container for the nuclear weapon cores being collected from Russia after the end of the Cold War. This is one of three such containers now preserved in Livermore—the first being buried at Sandia in 1999, the second donated to the city for its Millennium capsule project, and now this one. Sandian Tim Sage was present last week with a special wrench used to seal all three barrels over the past six years. He has become the local technical expert in sealing and preserving capsules—knowing just how tight to turn the bolts, what sealant or sealing ring to use, and how much dessicant (moisture absorbent) to put inside each.

Particularly impressive was a letter written by Youth Commissioner Jennifer Lund, a Granada sophomore, In it she told teens who will be opening the capsule 25 years from now what it is like in Livermore today—“life is pretty quiet. Granada and Livermore high schools keep to their usual friendly competition. Downtown Livermore’s facelift was recently completed. Prop D was voted down…” I wonder if a quarter century from now the North Livermore farmland will still stand untouched as it does today?

Most of the kids filling the capsule intend to be around when it is opened, as they will only be in their 40s. But someone should remind them what date to open it and make sure that the coffee table isn’t removed from the Elbow Room during the next remodeling!


More snow sightings: Three more readers recall measurable snow on the valley floor in 1975-76, besides the one reported as March 13, 1975 in the last column. Kathy Jones sent photo evidence of a snowfall February 5, 1976 with her daughter in front of snowmen in her front yard. Elaine Bosserman remembers a snowfall between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 1975 after they had just moved into their home, and Jeri Long recalls getting hit by snowballs when she was an Amador High teacher in February of 1976. So that must have been one cold winter!


We’ll take a break from history mysteries awhile so I can catch up on my research.


The columnist can be reached via email at :


or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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