City buries time capsule to mark 375th anniversary

The vault that holds the city’s 375th anniversary time capsule is so big that Frosty Smith, who spearheaded the time capsule project, didn’t think there was going to be enough to fill it.

But with more than 400 submissions from school students and community members, the vault was filled and buried in the ground near Milford City Hall Wednesday night as one of the final official events associated with the city’s year-long celebration of its 375th anniversary.

The committee has been working all year long, with collection boxes having been placed at Milford Library, City Hall, and the George J. Smith Building at the end of the Milford Green.

Mayor Ben Blake said the burial site is appropriate because it is historic: The turf and twig ceremony, that occurred when the land was transferred to the settlers 375 years ago, would have taken place nearby.

Former City Historian Richard Platt said it’s not known exactly where the turf and twig ceremony would have taken place, but it likely occurred in the center of town.

The hole for the capsule was dug by Jim Mallico III, and the vault was donated by Norwalk Vault.

Robert Gregory, anniversary committee chairman, wore a colonial-era hat for the burial ceremony.

To add to the historic charm of Wednesday night’s event, members of the Milford Ancient Fife and Drum Corps played the National Anthem and Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Milford Masons were also on hand to provide words of support.

The vault was buried on the lawn of the Diane S. Toulson Building, which is often referred to as ‘the Yellow Building’ that once served as Milford High School, across the street from Milford City Hall.

In order to commemorate the location of the time capsule, a shiny marble stone marks the spot. The marker was created from a block of official ‘Milford Marble,’ taken from a tract of land that currently is the site of the Milford Turnpike Square shopping center. Many attendees were surprised to learn that Milford was once well known for its quarry of unique verdant marble, and Smith was pleased to have an additional piece of history become a part of the time capsule project.

“Milford marble is very unique in color – and we know that pieces of it are on display at the Capitol Building in Hartford, as well as in the White House in Washington, D.C. We are honored to have this piece in place along with the time capsule,” Smith commented.

The committee, consisting of nearly 15 citizens, had been working on the project for well over a year, Smith said. Dora Kubek, resident and an alderwoman for the 5th District, served as scribe for the project, recording the details associated with each of the 400 submissions made. Bob Gregory has a full list of all items in the capsule.

It is expected copies of the list will be kept at the Milford Public Library.

Kathy Bonetti, one of the committee volunteers who gathered submissions for the time capsule, said that inside the vault there are commemorative books from past city anniversary celebrations; letters from students to their future selves, as well as other items, including school yearbooks.

One school donated a cassette tape to be played when the time capsule is opened in 25 years, and the creators of the tape included a cassette player, in case there are none to be found in 25 years.

Gregory credited Smith for making sure the site was centrally located. Gregory noted that he was involved in other time capsule projects and sometimes people forget where they are.

There is a time capsule buried at Gulf Beach, he said. But after it was buried, markers indicating its location moved.

“It will be there for eternity,” Gregory said.

Bonetti said she hopes some of the students who submitted items will be on hand when the time capsule is dug up.