May 31, 1999
By Sean Holstege
LIVERMORE --- Nobody quite knows where it is, exactly what it contains or even if it's still intact, but they're unearthing the centennial time capsule nonetheless.
Assuming they can find it in one hour on Tuesday.
The capsule was buried in 1974 somewhere near the totem pole in Centennial Park, as part of the city's observance of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Livermore.
Astute local historians will note Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall, not his close friend, Robert Livermore. And it was in 1869, making the centennial 1969 not 1974.
It took five years for the city to get around to burying the capsule.
When they did, no plaque was made. So there is no record of the capsule's contents or exact location.
The capsule is to be unearthed at noon Tuesday, one hour after city work crews hunt for it. And if they can't find it?
"That will be a little embarrassing.- said Barry Schrader, who convinced the city to dig it up.
What is known about the capsule comes from Schrader's memory. He was the editor of The Herald at the time of the dedication and burial.
Just in case his memories are as rusty as the container --- he said it could be heavily damaged --- three other survivors of the 1974 ceremony will be on hand: octogenarian civic leader Herb Hagemann, former Mayor Gib Marguth and Centennial Committee Chairman Paul Heppner.
The time capsule isn't the first in Livermore with a cursed past.
Sometime in the 30s, Schrader said, the Sons of the Golden West buried one under Robert Livermore's monument on Portola Avenue. Sometime later the monument was moved a mile away. The time capsule was buried under a mound of concrete --- with no plaque identifying where.
A capsule commemorating the bicentennial of Lt. Col. Juan Bautista de Anza's expedition through the area was buried near Corral Hollow Road in 1976. Vandals pried away a small plaque but a large one remains.
Schrader has higher hopes and is taking greater precautions to protect Livermore's Millenniurn Time Capsule. It win be buried near civic center library on Dec. 3 1. With a plaque.
Both the Millennium and Centennial time capsules and their contents --- assuming there are any --- will be on display at the Alameda County Fair.
To make sure the millennium capsule doesn't rust, bottles of commemorative wine and other curios will be scaled in a 150-pound, doublelined, stainless steel drum, one normally used to dispose nuclear warheads.