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Officials Learn City’s Time Capsule Missing
Capsule plaque pix.jpg
This plaque is on the northwest corner of the Riverbank Community Center, and was put in place in August 1968. A time capsule was said to have been buried in the wall, under the plaque. The City and the Riverbank Historical Society had planned to unearth the capsule to learn its contents and celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Community Center completion but recently learned the capsule has gone missing. Ric McGinnis/The News

With plans rolling full speed ahead and ticket sales picking up momentum, unearthing the Riverbank time capsule this month may have a small hitch in the program.

The City of Riverbank and the Historical Society are teaming up to recreate the festivities that were held when construction of the Community Center was completed and the cornerstone put down in August 1968.

The plaque placed over it indicated it should be unearthed on Aug. 17, 2018, some 50 years after it was dedicated.

The committee organizing the upcoming event, made up of society members and city employees, met last week to continue planning for the event.

But there was a bit of bad news from the city portion of the committee.

According to Rich Holmer, Historical Society treasurer and its fundraising chair, city staff revealed at the meeting that there had been a hiccup in the plan.

“The city told us that they had gone ahead and opened the cornerstone in preparation for the event,” possibly to see what was there so it wouldn’t be such a surprise, he said. But they told him they couldn’t find any sign of the time capsule, he told Society members last week.

In thinking back over his tenure as City Manager, Holmer noted that many of the people who were employed by the city over the years in the Public Works Department were no longer around to ask. That department most likely would have been in charge of opening it up during some maintenance work.

Many have retired, some have moved away, and one of the 30-year veterans has passed away.

While the search for information goes on, Holmer said, the date of the event is just a few days away.

The committee reportedly expects to continue working on its event, with the Historical Society members talking about placing a new time capsule there, to be opened in another 50 years.

Also, they are looking for items currently at the museum from 1968 to place in the new capsule, to go along with present day artifacts, Holmer said.

One item that quickly comes to mind, he noted, was a Nixon-Agnew presidential campaign button from ‘68.

“We’ll have to look around to see what else we have available,” Holmer said.

Plans have shifted to include displaying the artifacts that will be buried as opposed to viewing those unearthed, he added, with the items to be on display before the dinner.

And former City Councilman Allen Trawick, that last remaining member who helped dedicate the Community Center in 1968, has been invited to participate.

Though disappointed that the original time capsule is missing, Holmer said he hopes the event can still be a big fundraiser for the proposed annex expansion to be built next to the museum. The city and the Historical Society plan to split the proceeds from the catered event.

So, with the event a little more than a week away, ticket sales are continuing. They’re available at City Hall, at the museum during open hours, and from several businesses in the community, including the Farmers Insurance on Santa Fe Street, next to the Plaza del Rio Park.

Several businesses and civic organizations have purchased complete tables for eight diners to be a part of the event.

From 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., a dinner and dancing will be hosted at the Community Center, similar to the original celebration when the now-missing time capsule was first buried.