Refrigerator magnets, restaurant menus and archaeological artifacts are just a few of the items the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation used to capture contemporary local life in the time capsule it buried last Saturday.
The time capsule was dedicated and buried after the trust’s 43rd annual meeting at El Presidio de Santa Barbara, a Spanish military fortress located downtown. Local residents, trust members and Mayor Marty Blum helped bury the container, which will be opened in 2082 in commemoration of the tricentennial anniversary of El Presidio’s founding.
Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Board Member Elliot Brownlee said the time capsule is a direct link between present-day Santa Barbara and the future.
“Time capsules are ways of tying ourselves to the future,” Brownlee said. “They’re ways of making a statement in the future and connecting to it symbolically.”
Jarrell Jackman, executive director of the trust, said the group asked businesses in the neighborhood around El Presidio to contribute items to the time capsule that illustrate the theme, “A Day in the Life of the Presidio Neighborhood.” Jackman, who graduated from UCSB with a degree in history, said he hopes the capsule gives the Santa Barbara residents who open it a glimpse of how the area once was.
“We’re historians,” Jackman said. “Eighty years from now, people won’t have the memory of what the Presidio Neighborhood was like. The Presidio’s a part of history. We want to make sure there’s an opportunity for people to learn what was here.”
Lee Goodman, director of the trust’s The Presidio Research Center, said the time capsule contains local restaurant menus, letters from political representatives, archaeological artifacts from neighborhood historical sites and everyday objects such as a coffee mug and refrigerator magnets. The air in the container was replaced by argon, an inert gas, to prevent its contents from deteriorating over time.
In 1992, the trust buried a different time capsule in the wall of El Presidio’s reconstructed Comandante’s Quarters, Jackman said. The first capsule is less accessible and will probably be opened long after the second, which is buried under El Presidio’s floor.
Brownlee said the creation of the time capsule coincides with a reconstruction project currently occurring at El Presidio.
“The trust is very conscious of the neighborhood and neighborhood involvement,” Brownlee said. “We’re not trying to reconstruct the whole Presidio, just enough to give a feel of what it was like. The study of the Presidio neighborhood and the historic value of the properties are of great value to the city, and reflective of neighborhood consciousness.”
Laura Benson, vice president of Pacific Capital Bancorp in Santa Barbara, said she attended the meeting because she is interested in Santa Barbara’s history.
“It gives us a window to our past and shows the strength our founders had,” Benson said. “It also inspires young people – history can be an inspiration for the future. This town has so much history and people believe in it and maintain it.”
The trust, which was founded as a non-profit organization in 1963, has also worked to restore La Casa de la Guerra downtown. Brownlee said its next project is the opening of a state park at the Santa In