The Etowah County Centennial Time Capsule: Will you be around when it opens in 2068?


The Vagabond had a visitor this past week who brought a lot of information on the 1968 Etowah County Centennial and the capsule that was buried at the courthouse. We will take catch up next week on more of Jerry Jones.

Back around June 26, 1968, the Etowah County Centennial celebration got underway on the courthouse lawn with the unveiling of the county’s newly designed flag, the unveiling of a historical marker and the burial of a time capsule. This capsule is to be opened in 2068.

The ceremonies opened with a prayer at the weekly meeting of the Etowah County Board of Revenue by the Rev. J. L. Brasher, a retired Methodist minister who was to be 100 years old the next month on July 20. The prayer was taped and played at the centennial opening.

Following the prayer, county, state and city officials were introduced from the speaker’s platform by Woodrow J. Stephens, president of the Board of Revenue and chairman of the Centennial Commission.

Jerry Jones, co-chairman of the committee, presented the winners as well as the second and third place runners-up in the Etowah flag contest. The winners were Joan Mario Williams and her sister, Mary Denise Williams of Attalla. Mrs. Dorriee Donnegan of the Welcome Wagon presented the Williams sisters a plaque. Second place was Mrs. Arthur Barker of Glencoe and third place was Mrs. Fohhus’ third grade class at Donahoe Elementary School.

The flag was raised on the courthouse flagpole below the American flag following the presentation. Later it was lowered for use in the parade, which followed the ceremonies.

Martin Dority, director of the Bureau of Publicity and Information, represented Governor Albert Brewer.

Mrs. Hazel Oliver presided at the unveiling of the historical marker. She said that just the morning before, it was still in Atlanta and had to be rushed in time for the celebration. She warned spectators that it had not been permanently placed in the ground and could topple if touched.

E.W. Carson of Republic Steel discussed how employees built the capsule. He questioned if anyone present that day would live another hundred years to see the items taken out, but said “So great have been the advances in medical science and public health that no one can be sure how long people will live in the 21st century.”

Carson also said that Etowah Countians would look back on its first 100 years and be proud. “The people of Etowah County, including those of us who have come here to live and work in recent years, stand confident today that only progress lies ahead – advancements not only in material matters, but in those of the spirit as well.”

“Republic Steel expects to be a part of this progress as far ahead as we can see in the next 100 years,” said Carson. (Unfortunately the steel plant closed down a few years ago – Vagabond). 

Also welcoming the visitors who came for the celebrations was Mayor Gilliland, who said the City of Gadsden and Etowah County had made much progress in the past and that progress in the next 100 years depended a lot on what the people of the community living today do to promote it. He also forecast that by the year 2068 this would be a community of one million people.

Afterward, there was a parade through downtown Gadsden and a Jaycee dance. All this ushered in a nine-day celebration that included several exciting events.

The Coosa Time Tunnel, a historical exhibit, was at Convention Hall through July 4th as well as forty-four exhibitors with displays ranging from Indian artifacts to an illicit liquor distillery. There were to be an old bottle collection, guns, old documents, fossils, minerals, old Bibles, and more.

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