CAMDEN — With the overhaul of the Mechanic Street parking lot, an engineering fix to protect the foundation of an abutting building has lead to the necessary creation of an empty cavity. Acknowledging its structural oddity, a crew from Camden Public Works took at a look at that space as potential for something creative, but what?
Bury a time capsule, suggested one person. 2020 is such a crazy year, anyhow, everyone agreed. Cover it in old bricks found recently in the Megunticook River, said another person.
The idea was floated through the correct municipal channels, and “everyone liked it,” said Select Board member Alison McKellar.
And so, the call is now out for time capsule contributions, with an August 14 deadline.
Photos, letters to the community, letters to oneself, musings, hopes and dreams, small mementos, signifiers of the Time of Covid-19 —all collective thoughts to preserve for the next 20 years in a 4-foot tall cylinder that is marked as a time capsule for Year 2000.
The latter will need crossing out, but it was serendipity that old tube even surfaced.
After the town decided to proceed with burying the capsule last week, Public Works was tasked with building an actual capsule. But lo and behold, an unused relic surfaced at the town garage. Apparently, Public Works had built a capsule 20 years ago for the Y2K celebration but it never got filled nor buried.
Local citizens with a historical knowledge were queried, but no one seems to remember who initiated the time capsule effort then, and why it never got finished. In true Yankee fashion, the capsule had been constructed from a sewer pipe and festively painted.
Now, it is going to be repurposed as the Y2020 capsule, and is due for burying next week, as the parking lot rehab project winds down.
The capsule will lie horizontally in the cavity, and will be covered by a collection of historic bricks that have been fished from the Megunticook River, as it is currently getting surveyed and explored, courtesy of another project.
The bricks are unique, and evoke the town’s industrial past, when a brick factory once occupied the river bank near downtown Camden.
A filled time capsule in Camden will join two others in the area that known, or semi-known: Rockport buried a time capsule several years ago to commemorate its separation from the Town of Camden. In 2016, Rockport held ceremonies, parties, a parade, ball, bridge dinner and more events to celebrate itself as a town, and its separation from the Town of Camden. The last bit of Rockport’s Qausquicentennial (125th) business was the time capsule, which is to be disinterred from its location under a granite slap at the Rockport Town Office in 2041.
And, another time capsule of sorts was ensconced in the original cornerstone of the Mary E. Taylor school building when it was constructed in 1925. A number of articles were sealed in the stone, according to John Williams’ History of Camden.
Contributions to this latest capsule can be delivered to the Camden Town Office, by August 14.
Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org; 207-706-6657.