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April 6, 2012

Did You Know?: Time capsules on campus

Centennial Marker

A time capsules was installed in 1970 under the base of the University's centennial marker, originally located off Northwestern Avenue on Purdue Mall. In 1989, after being unearthed and stored for three years due to the construction of the Materials and Electrical Engineering building, the marker and capsule were moved to the Northwestern Avenue side of the building, where they remain. (Purdue University photo/Chloe Woodson)
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Across Purdue's campus, several time capsules one day will give future Boilermakers a glimpse into life here during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Some of the time capsules were buried near campus landmarks -- such as the University's centennial marker or the iconic Purdue Bell Tower. Others are nestled within the cornerstones of key campus buildings or within the walls of new construction.

Here's a look at some of the stories behind campus time capsules.

* In 1970, a time capsule with memorabilia from Purdue's 1969 centennial celebration was buried at the base of the University's centennial marker, which then was located off Northwestern Avenue on Purdue Mall.

The capsule contains a letter from President Frederick L. Hovde to the University's president of 2069, the year the capsule will be opened. In addition to the letter, the capsule contains a tape-recording of Hovde's address at the centennial kickoff luncheon on Jan. 15, 1969; a 1969 Purdue yearbook; various news clippings from the centennial year; and copies of newspapers the Exponent, the Lafayette Journal and Courier and the Indianapolis Star.

In 1989, after being unearthed and stored for three years due to the construction of the Materials and Electrical Engineering Building, the capsule was reburied on the Northwestern Avenue side of the new building. The centennial marker and the time capsule remain at that location.

* In 1990, a time capsule was placed behind the cornerstone of the under-construction Class of 1950 Lecture Hall. The time capsule includes a photo of the lecture hall as it appeared in 1904; schedules of classes from Fall 1949 and Fall 1989; several commencement books; and a letter from President Steven C. Beering to those opening the capsule.

* Also in 1990, a time capsule was placed in a masonry block near the main entrance to Schleman Hall of Student Services following the building's addition and renovation. Items inside the capsule include a program from the building's rededication that year; photos of the project's groundbreaking; publications from the student services office; and programs from the dedication and 50th anniversary of Elliott Hall of Music.

* In 1995, a time capsule was sealed in a shaft at the base of the Purdue Bell Tower. The shaft was sealed with a plaque that details the site's history, including details about the 1895 tower that marked the hours and class times on campus until it was razed in 1956.

The time capsule, which will be opened in 2095, contains 70 items, including letters from President Beering and Purdue Student Government President Kevin K. Parsons to their counterparts in 2095. Other items include various campus publications; the tower's blueprints and specifications; videos, compact discs and cassettes; and memorabilia from the project's fundraising efforts.

* In 2007, a time capsule was buried near the site of the planned Marriott Hall near State and University streets. The capsule will be opened in 2028, which will mark the 100th anniversary of Purdue's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

* In 2011, a time capsule was sealed in a wall near the entrance of the new Roger B. Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building during the wing's dedication. It will be opened in 2061.

Among the items in the time capsule are booklets listing 2011 mechanical engineering graduates, student organizations, faculty and staff. The time capsule also contains a slide rule that belonged to George Hawkins, a renowned Purdue alumnus who served as dean of engineering from 1953 until 1967.