Pennington County sends message to the future with new time capsule
Four or five generations – that’s the expected gap between those placing a 100-year time capsule and those who will be opening it. A century from today, that generation of Pennington County residents will crack open a gift from us.
100 years ago, the residents of Pennington County buried documents, coinage, and a can of chewing tobacco, unearthed in 2022 at the courthouse.
Now, as the same community places another time capsule in the same exact location, circuit judge Craig Pfeifle said these are markers of where the city is at the time of burial.
“It really speaks to where we were at as a community and who we were at that particular time," Pfeifle said. "We hope that the placement of this particular time capsule speaks in the same way to those that open it 100 years from now.”
The contents of this capsule included items with that goal. Among other things, a COVID-19 home test, a photo of the local council, a program from the Lakota Nation Invitational, the Nov. 17, 2022 edition of the Rapid City Journal, and an SDPB lapel pin are included in the lot.
State Senator Helene Duhamel, who also works in the Sheriff’s office, said it was a bit of an adventure finding the original capsule without damaging the courthouse.
“Almost like the movie ‘National Treasure’ research revealed his hidden, three-story air shaft right above us," Duhamel said. "Buildings and grounds removed these ceiling tiles and then found this kind of empty patched space. They got some ladders, and they started doing some very careful digging. They excavated the area exactly one year ago with a big crowd and media – the time capsule was removed and opened for the first time in 100 years.”
The inclusion of a plaque at the burial site should make that challenge moot in a century.
There was one thing consistent between 1923 and 2023 – the involvement of local Freemasons who hope they’ll still be around in 2123. Their ceremony – an excerpt led by Masons Mike Rodman and Bryant Stokes can be heard in the audio – closed the interment.
With the new capsule finally buried in the walls of the courthouse, it is now in the hands of all our descendants to judge its contents 100 years from now.