Parks and Recreation worker Mike Goodwin found this marker while changing a light bulb at the SportPlex on Wednesday. | Austin Nelson
Parks and Recreation worker Mike Goodwin found this marker while changing a light bulb at the SportPlex on Wednesday. | Austin Nelson

Archived Story

City employee stumbles upon forgotten 1984 time capsule

Published 6:33pm Thursday, July 10, 2014

An Alexander City Parks and Recreation employee stumbled across a bit of city history Wednesday.

Parks and recreation director Sonny Wilson said that Mike Goodwin stumbled across a time capsule while replacing a light at the Sportplex.

“It is hard to read,” Wilson said. “It says ‘this time capsule was buried the year 1984,’ and something like to be opened May 2014.”

Wilson said they don’t want to open it until they can get together those who filled the time capsule for some sort of unveiling ceremony. The ceremony is planned tentatively for August.

Laura Burroughs said she discovered that the capsule had been found while on Facebook. The news jogged her memory and for good reason – she was one of the members of Sue Towns’ fifth grade gifted class at Radney School that was responsible for compiling the 30-year-old collection of relics.

“It was Mrs. Sue Towns’ fifth grade gifted class of 1984,” Burroughs said. “She assigned the project, and we were involved in all stages of the planning process.”

The planning process was quite extensive, with the group electing a coordinator, interviewer, photographer, cultural artifact chief, manuscript editor and a futurist. Burroughs actually was able to dig up the old documents, which included a full inventory list.
As for the capsule itself, she believes it was a galvanized trash can. If her memory serves her well, the capsule was originally buried at the airport and moved to the Sportplex at some point in time.

“I am very eager to see what our young little minds encapsulated all those relics in,” Burroughs said with a laugh.

In the interest of not spoiling the surprise, The Outlook won’t reveal all the items in the can. But among the relics are a digital watch, top songs of the day and various photos.

In 2007, the city discovered a map to the capsule hidden in the city’s old safe deposit box. The envelopes said that the capsule had been moved in 1989.

Laura Scott Burroughs, Carrie Johnson Waldrop, Lynley Davis Hines, Jason Willis, Larkin Radney, IV, John Coley, Lee Coker, Michael Higgins and Greg Bledsoe were all members of the class.

It is doubtful that the class’s teacher, who is in an assisted living facility out of town, will be able to attend the unveiling. But Burroughs said she is looking forward to it and hopefully will take pictures to send to Towns.

“She was a wonderful woman,” Burroughs said. “To me, this is not just about history. It is about getting a kick out of your childhood.”