It's going on week sixteen of our house remodel (but that's a whole other blog!) and we found out today that our sheet rock is going in soon. Yippee! Well, I joked to our general contractor that we should put a time capsule in the wall before they seal it up. He said all they ever find in the walls is old beer cans - which I thought was odd!
It was just a fleeting thought, but then I started thinking how much we would have loved to have opened up a wall in our house to find old photos or any information about the people who built and lived in the home. Since our home was built in 1928-1929, it would have been great to find an old newspaper or some photographs hidden behind the sheathing. Alas, we didn't find anything, as the home had been remodeled before.
We were super curious about our home when we purchased it and, luckily, were able to dig up some information at the Austin History Center about the people who built it and lived there back in the 1920s and 30s. Coincidentally, the architect who designed our home also designed the Austin History Center! Your local history center is a great place to start with any historical research on a home. In just a few minutes I found our address and the original family name in an old phone book and found out that there were still children of the people who built the home living in Austin. I even tried to hunt them down. I found an address and wrote a letter, but never received any response. I still have hopes that something will show up one day.
Whenever I show older properties that appear to have belonged to the original owners, clients always wonder if they can ask for old photos of the home. People love history! I think it's human nature to want to know about the people who owned your home before you.
So to keep this from happening to the next generation of people who own our house, we are going to put together a time capsule this weekend. I thought that an Austin American-Statesman on UT-OU game day AND Austin City Limits Festival weekend would be a good place to start, along with pictures of us and the house, and a copy of the Austin Chronicle. I was also thinking of including a menu from a nearby restaurant or a flyer from Wheatsville Co-op (our neighborhood grocery store).
What else would you put in a time capsule? My husband said, "We could put in a thumb drive!" But I'm not sure that, after 40 years or so, the discoverers of the capsule would have any way of viewing its contents. So maybe we should just stick to the basics. If you are planning or in the middle of a home renovation, make sure to put a little of yourself into the mix. The owners in 2080 will thank you!