Column: Grand Park time capsule wrap-up

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By Zach Burton 

Last weekend, I was privileged to stand with community leaders, business owners and residents as we gathered to bury a time capsule at Grand Park in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial.

Standing in front of the soon-to-be-completed Grand Park Events Center, my thoughts became, as Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut once said, “unstuck in time;” thinking about all of those who had come before me, and all who were still to make their mark.

When the Indiana House petitioned the United States Congress for statehood, the state’s population totaled 63,897 people. By the 1860s, the number of people who called Indiana home had surpassed 1 million.

This surge in settlement was due in large part to the relative ease with which settlers could move here. Indiana author Scott Russell Sanders wrote of the Midwest’s pioneers, “Sane people do not think of conquering a mountain range or a desert; but generations of quite sane people could imagine conquering the grasslands and hardwood forests, clearing the trees and breaking sod, draining the swamps, damming the rivers, reducing the land to obedience.”

Because of those early pioneers, Indiana’s cities and towns grew over time to what they have become today: headquarters for global pharmaceutical companies, auto manufacturing centers, homes to world-renowned universities, and even a destination for youth travel sports teams from across the nation.

The time capsule now buried at Grand Park contains personal notes, photographs, videos, mementos and other items that bottle up what it is like to live in Westfield as the State of Indiana turns 200. Thanks to the donations of local government, schools, the library, nonprofit groups, businesses and residents, people 30 years from now will be able to travel through time and, if only through these few items, experience our lives.

Residents of a city cannot touch it without changing that community in some way, large or small. When Westfield’s time capsule is opened in 2046, what will you have shaped in the intervening years? What important stories will you have preserved for future generations of Hoosiers?


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