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Barry Schrader


I currently have columns running in 3 newspapers;

  • Tri-Valley Herald : Do You Remember?
  • Valley Times : Looking Back
  • the Independant : Do You Remember?

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

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

Times Capsules Abound in Valley

By Barry Schrader..................................November 25, 2004

The answer to last week's "history mystery" question is that there are at least nine time capsules buried in public places around the Tri-Valley with a 10th due for sealing in 2005.
Now where are they? Livermore holds the record with no less than six: (1) the capsule under the replacement Robert Livermore Monument at Portola Park, (2) the Centennial capsule, which was formerly buried under the back ledge of the Totem Pole base in Centennial Park (that couldn't be found for three weeks) now housed next to the Livermore monument, (3) the Millennium capsule buried at the Civic Center library park in front of the 1776 DeAnza Expedition marker, (4) the Sandia 50th anniversary capsule near the main entrance outside Building 911, (5) the LLNL 50th anniversary capsule deposited near the Lab's Discovery Center off Greenville Road, and (6) the least known one, buried under the DeAnza campsite monument some 13 miles out Tesla Road in April 1976.
Due for sealing next year is the Livermore Youth Advisory Commission capsule to commemorate "teen things" which will be stored above ground in the new Robert Livermore Community Center. Just FYI: three of the capsules are former nuclear weapon component casks donated by Sandia.
Dublin interred its 20th anniversary cityhood capsule under the sidewalk in front of the new library, while Pleasanton can boast two-the first buried for the nation's Bicentennial at Century House on the right of the entrance sidewalk, and the second one entombed at Civic Park at the end of Main Street during the city's 1994 Centennial. Another plaque next to it commemorates the founding of the Pleasanton F& AM Lodge in 1894, according to Mason Bob Warner. Let's hope lists of all contents have been filed with the International Time Capsule Society at Oglethorpe University. But the ITCS claims 80 to 90 percent of all capsules are not registered and will be lost forever!
Now let's look at their contents. Thanks to Dick Lerche of the Livermore Heritage Guild, four of the capsules' lists are on the website at www.lhg.org/time for posterity. For those not wired to the Internet, a few examples of items include: a lock of Mayor Cathie Brown's hair in the Millennium capsule so she can be cloned in 2099 when it is unearthed, and a bottle of vintage 1995 Concannon Port (guaranteed by Tom Lane and Jim Concannon to be drinkable in 2099); the Sandia capsule to be opened in 2024, holds the Pete Witze spark plug probe, a bag of Southwest Airline peanuts to commemorate the thousands of flights taken by Sandians over the years, among some 74 items (but where is Walter Bauer's "cold fusion" experiment?); the LLNL time capsule includes a scale model of Brilliant Pebbles, a sample of Aerogel, Astronaut John Glenn's autograph, and a NIFFY T-shirt, among the 87 odd items.
The Livermore Centennial capsule contents are best known because they were displayed at the county fair and the Carnegie History Center. For example, they include a copy of Bill Owens' Suburbia picture book, a personally signed letter from President Nixon congratulating the city on reaching the century mark, and a copy of Centennial Rag penned by composer/scientist Don Miller.
Now the mystery deepens, as the DeAnza capsule, foolishly deposited under a one-ton cement monument (now badly vandalized), had no contents list published. Bicentennial year Exchange Club president Lee Basnar and project chair David Eldridge (local postmaster in 1976) are long gone and the rest of us who were there don't have a clue. Among the Livermore monument capsule memorabilia from 1935 are a history of the monument, $10 gold piece, and list of Native Sons' Las Positas Parlor members at that time.
Dublin had no difficulty in providing documentation from November 2002, as Elizabeth Isles has an itemized list of 73 items, including currency from their Sister City in Ireland, a bottle of DSRSD water, and a tape of the Dublin town song (still sung at every city council opening no doubt). But no green beer-what a shame!
Meanwhile, in Pleasanton it took a bit of digging, but capsule event chairs Brad Hirst and Charlotte Severin provided some clues while Delores Bengston and Eileen Morley teamed up to uncover lists at city hall. Both rectangular capsules were designed and constructed by Bill Wentworth, who told me he is still proud of that project. The 1994 box has such interesting things as a Zwirl RPM football, youth clothing fads from JC Penney at Stoneridge, and three local paintings from Dottie Barlett. The Bicentennial capsule includes such memorabilia as a photo of the accidental burning of the historic Fallon House as a fire training exercise, Good Times Parade souvenirs, and an Amador High yearbook.


Now here's the "history mystery" for this week: Hirst revealed that he made an executive decision and vetoed a donated item from Amador-a 1976 Playboy magazine. Now the multiple choice question: Was the magazine (a) sent to the Museum on Main archives along with his other files, (b) returned to the Amador boys, (c) left in the bottom right hand drawer of his desk, or (d) loaned out to Ed Kinney? Send in your answer to the address below and the winner will get a copy of another popular magazine of the day-Mad. For the complete lists of capsules' contents in P-town visit the Museum, or in Dublin see Ms. Isles at the Old Murray School.
Do you remember, Bernie Billen? Then you're much older than I….

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The columnist can be reached via email at :


or by snailmail at:

Barry Schrader
PO Box 446
Livermore, CA. 94551

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