Fruitport time capsule goes back into the ground for another 50 years

Becky Vargo • Jun 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Residents signed the guestbook and contributed business cards and other last minute items prior to the re-burial of the Fruitport time capsule on Saturday afternoon.

“I brought a picture of the new high school they are building, a movie ticket stub from “Aladdin,” an empty box from an e-cigarette and a grocery receipt with a gallon of milk on it,” said Robin Walley.

The area resident took time to sign the guestbook that was included in the time capsule when it was originally buried on June 22, 1969. 

Exactly 50 years later, the polished brass cylinder went back into the ground following a short ceremony in front of the Fruitport Library.

Fruitport Historical Society member Brian Zwart encouraged those in attendance to take a souvenir from the 1969 Fruitport Centennial celebration with them. 

“We took over 60 pounds of these coins out of the time capsule,” Zwart said.

He and his wife counted almost 3,400 coins.

Zwart said they planned to put a few back in the capsule, but not all of them.

The ceremony included short talks by Zwart, fellow Historical Society member Jerry Alger, Village President Roger VanderStelt, Library Board President Rose Dillon and State Sen. Jon Bumstead of Newaygo. 

Once the time capsule was closed, those attending were encouraged to throw a shovel full of dirt into the hole to help bury the capsule.

Once the job is complete, a stone bench commemorating the Village’s 150 years in existence will mark the spot.

Howard and Dorothy Eggelton watched from the shade during the ceremony on a beautiful, 70-degree day. 

Their daughter, Leah Powers, said there was a picture of her father and brother in the time capsule. It was from the centennial celebration, a photo from a newspaper article that showed them comparing their beards.

Howard said he was glad to be there for this event.

“I think it’s a great occasion,” said area businessman Ron Cooper. “It adds substance to our community.”

Fruitport, originally known as Crawville, named after a Civil War captain, was renamed after all of the fruit trees that were grown in the area.

Much of the Fruitport history, compiled by Zwart, is included in the time capsule. 

“I’m very pleased with the outpouring of support the community had for the project,” Zwart said. “I’ll be hopefully around in 50 years” when the time capsule is unearthed again.

Alger, in his early 20s when he helped initiate Fruitport’s centennial celebration and time capsule project in 1969, was emotional as the ceremony concluded.

“It was just a lot of fun for me. It was exciting,” Alger said of his involvement in the project 

“I knew the end product of someone opening the capsule this year would be exciting,” he said. “I wasn’t even thinking of myself, that I would be around. But the 50 years flew by.”

Alger said he was glad the project succeeded and he’s glad to be done. He hopes that younger generations will step forward in the next 50 years to bring up the time capsule and to take care of the Village parks and history in the meantime. 

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