“The mystery of the Chugiak High School time capsule”



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The following account is taken from notes former CHS teacher Andy Kirk handwrote in July 1997, shortly before he died. Since the 50th anniversary of Chugiak High School is being celebrated this summer, we thought it appropriate to print it here now.

 

Three weeks ago I went to the 20th reunion of the class of 1977. The main thing they wanted to know was, what happened to the time capsule?

It was the fall of 1976 when we had the time capsule ceremonies in the gym. Rick Halford had painted up a 20 gallon can red, white and blue. Rick, Randy Phillips, Sam Cotton, Ed Willis and other notables were present. The band played. Classes, sports groups and organizations all came and placed items in the capsule, such as yearbooks, school papers, pictures, an Alaska Star, trinkets, etc. At the end, Tom Cresap put in the film of the proceedings that had just taken place. The capsule was sealed and carried out by the NJROTC. It was not to be opened for 50 years—in 2026.

We kept the capsule in the safe for a couple of years because we didn’t know the exact location to buy it in the courtyard. There was a competition for a design of the courtyard. About two dozen entries were displayed in the library. A committee of students, teachers, administrators and parents chose Mark Moffet’s design. We had a ceremony at lunch time and buried it, with the bank playing. A few weeks later we discovered that some vandals had tired to dig it up. They got about halfway down to the outside of the capsule, but it hadn’t been opened. We were upset. We poured a thick slab of concrete over it and replaced the dirt.

Later a kid came to me and said to please not be upset, that a group of kids wanted to play a prank—they had gone over to the courtyard on a Sunday and began to dig, but quit when it got dark. Their plan was to mail the capsule (or its contents) to me from Fairbanks. I don’t know why they chose Fairbanks.

When the courtyard was finally completed 10 years later they had to jackhammer through the concrete and rebury the capsule in a different place. Mark Moffet’s design had to be modified because the new senior hall had taken up some of the courtyard. So now it is the focal point of the courtyard design with an inscription on top to have it opened in 2026.

 

This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at info@cerhs.org or leave a message at 688-4706.

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