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Treasures displayed after a 150-year-old time capsule is opened

<i>WMAR via CNN Newsource</i><br/>For Bel Air's 150th celebration
WMAR via CNN Newsource
For Bel Air's 150th celebration

By Ashley McDowell

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    BEL AIR, Maryland (WMAR) — While America is celebrating the Declaration of Independence, the community of Bel Air is also celebrating the town’s 150th Anniversary.

Cathy Stark-Kowalewski and Tom Stark carefully reflected on newspaper articles from 1974.

“This [article] talks about my mom and what she was doing for the centennial,” said Tom Stark, whose parents articles were buried in a time capsule 50 years ago in Shamrock Park. When the citizens celebrated the town of Bel Air’s 100th anniversary.

“A little bit of a tearjerker, for me being the girl,” said Stark’s sister, Cathy Stark- Kowalewski, when reacting to her parent’s items being found in the time capsule.

“I was really surprised I didn’t think we were going to see anything that our parents had put in there,” said Stark.

For Bel Air’s 150th celebration, treasures that are frozen in time were unearthed.

“50 years ago, they buried this time capsule, and on it there was a plaque and it said that it was to be open today July 4th. But, unfortunately, it was buried in front of our band shell behind us underneath brick. We had to have a mason to bring it out,” said Julia Potler, the Bel Air Event manager.

The capsule didn’t weather the storms over the years.

“You could kind of tell it was already sitting in a pretty big puddle of water,” said Michael Krantz, the Bel Air Town clerk. “So, the water level must have went up and down, up and down over the years with storms. And at some time that water must of breached the seal and the box was full with an inch or two of water.”

Krantz said items were taken out of the capsule a couple months early to dry out what could be preserved.

While many items didn’t make it, there is an array that did. Slipped into plastic baggies for people to observe and reflect.

Krantz showed one of the items that is bagged up, “I don’t know if you can see it here, but there was a cassette tape that somebody left to their family member that unfortunately got ruined by the storm water.”

Members of the community like Lori McDiarmid combed through the letters to loved ones, dishes and a mixture of other items in hopes of finding their own family treasure.

“My grandfather apparently put something into the time capsule, but it looks like it may not have survived the water damage,” said McDiarmid.

Although the piece of family history wasn’t found, the memory is still there.

“He had one of these and I used to put it on when I was little and pretend I was rich and I had lots of gold,” said McDiarmid’s daughter, Brandi Young.

A new capsule is being filled and will be sealed up at the end of the year and placed in town hall, not to be opened until July 4, 2074.

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