Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Time Capsule: The Colorado Springs Century Chest

The Colorado Springs Century Chest Project was a gathering of letters, photographs and other materials that were placed in a metal chest as a time capsule in 1901.The  letters and documents were inside linen envelopes and many of the photographs were wrapped in tin foil. The Century Chest that held these items was made of steel and lined with sheets of lead. It was sealed with 200 rivets to make it airtight. An inscription on the chest read: "To the citizens of Colorado Springs of the Twenty First Century. To be opened after midnight December 31st A.D. 2000." The Century Chest was kept on the Colorado College campus for 100 years. 

On Jan. 1, 2001 a Century Chest opening ceremony was held in the Tutt Library of Colorado College. In the weeks following the ceremony, for the purpose of preservation and access, librarians at Colorado College scanned every item from the Chest and transcribed many of the letters.

Among the contents of the Chest was a letter written by Architect Thomas McLaren, giving "An account of the architecture of the City at above date" (3d August 1901). Is it coincidence that today is August 3rd, 2011? I found this item of particular interest because Thomas McLaren was the architect who designed the house I'm living in, here in Canon City, Colorado. 

The list of contents of the Chest can be found  here.

How fortunate we are to have this resource as a window into the lives and times of the residents of Colorado Springs, Colorado 110 years ago! It's especially thrilling for me to be able to read the lengthy letter written 110 years ago today by the architect who designed my house. 
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