Longview time capsule site at library must be moved because of 12-inch waterline

A sesquicentennial time capsule might not be buried at the Longview Public Library after all — mainly because of the capsule’s large size, City Planner Angela Choy said.

Subcommittee members of the Longview Historic Preservation Commission were surprised by how large the 5-cubic-foot metal container they ordered several weeks ago was when it arrived in September, Choy said.

They planned to fill it with relics and mementos from Longview businesses and organizations and bury it on a grassy knoll outside the library for 100 years, but now they’re looking for another location.

After the capsule arrived at her office, Choy took a closer look at the proposed burial site and noticed “major 12-inch water utility lines” around the library, particularly beneath the grassy knoll area, she said.

She then told subcommittee members at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday that they’ve got to pick a new burial site.

“It’s the size of the capsule,” Choy said, “and it’s because those lines usually have easements, and you can’t put anything on those easements because of the safety of the waterlines.”

The library grounds offer other areas where the group can bury the time capsule, Choy said.

Community Services Director Laura Hill has said brick pavers on Eastman Plaza in front of the library could be pulled up and later replaced so that the capsule could be buried beneath them. Hill’s only rule for using the plaza was, “Don’t mess with the Eastman star,” Choy said.

The subcommittee also is looking to the City Hall grounds as a possible burial site.

“Just like the library is never going away, City Hall is never going away,” Choy said, adding that either building would likely be repurposed if the city ever built newer facilities to replace them.

Just like the library next door, City Hall presents a challenge in finding space that doesn’t disrupt the existing sprinkler system, Subcommittee and Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Jim Cogar said.

Also because of the capsule’s larger-than-expected size, the subcommittee might rescind its earlier decision not to include Longview Fire Department headgear.

As for other items to include in the capsule, “You could almost get a helmet from every school district in Longview,” Choy said. “That would take up space.”

Among other issues, the subcommittee decided Tuesday not to allow electronics to be placed in the time capsule, mostly because of the risk of corrosion, though Cogar suggested other reasons to restrict them.

“I still believe that electronics is not a good idea,” he said. “Chances are that in 100 years, no one is going to know how to use them, anyway, or even know how to charge them.”

Anyone with suggestions about the time capsule may email the subcommittee at planning@longviewtexas.gov . The capsule will be buried during a ceremony at 10 a.m. May 8 as part of a six-month Longview 150 sesquicentennial celebration.

The time capsule will remain buried until it is unearthed in 2120.