Were you at Plank North in 1976? You’re in this time capsule.

18 Oct
The time capsule was actually a large Thermos cooler.

Do you remember 1976? Happy Days was one of the most popular shows on TV. A first-class stamp cost 13 cents. The $2 bill was introduced with great fanfare. Ross Willink was Webster School District’s superintendent.

And, of course, 1976 was the year of our nation’s bicentennial. It was probably that fact in particular which motivated Plank North Elementary School to create a time capsule, filled with items depicting world events, school life and pop culture of the time.

The school chose to “plant” its time capsule — actually a large, red, white and blue Thermos cooler — on June 14, 1976, where the event took center stage at the annual Flag Day ceremony. Each class had chosen a different object to include in the capsule. The objects were presented one at a time, along with an explanation of why each had been chosen.

Some of the more than two dozen items included in the time capsule. Click below to see a gallery of everything.

No one seems to know where the time capsule spent the next 25 years. But we do know that in 2001, on the appointed day, it was opened at a school-wide assembly to the delight of students and teachers alike.

That was not the end of its travels, however. Some time after that assembly, the time capsule found its way to the Webster Museum, where is has spent much of the last 19 years in the museum’s attic.

Last week, it came back home to Plank North again, courtesy Bill Schoff, a former Plank North second grade teacher, and currently a volunteer for the Webster Museum.

Schoff is part of the museum’s “attic and inventory” crew, who are working on clearing out a lot of stuff to make more space. When they came across the cooler, they thought Plank North would like it back, and perhaps share some of the items with today’s students.

Schoff was on staff at Plank North that day in 2001 when teachers and students gathered for the assembly to open the 25-year old time capsule.

He remembers, “When the poster of Fonzie was pulled out, we asked the kids if they knew who it was. One student replied, ‘One of the teachers?'” We adults got a kick out of that one.”

Sharing the cooler with the Fonzie posted was a TV Guide with Sonny and Cher on the cover, a Holly Hobbie doll, copies of the Democrat and Chronicle and the Webster Herald, and almost two dozen other items. Each class’s written description of their object was included in a folder with a class photo. And someone had compiled a scrapbook of playground photos, complete with captions.

I took photos of everything in the time capsule, so you can check them all out for yourself. CLICK HERE to see that photo gallery.

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you know who attended or taught at Plank North back then (I was out of town, graduating high school). And if you have any stories to share about the assembly or the time capsule, drop me a line!

It’s very interesting to read the explanations of why each object was chosen and what children thought the world would look like in 2001.

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One Response to “Were you at Plank North in 1976? You’re in this time capsule.”

  1. Kelly Mutschler October 19, 2020 at 8:43 am #

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing! Maggie would have been at PRN when they opened the capsule. I will ask her about it!

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