City hall installs new time capsule to be opened in 2072

by Melissa Martin

Brecksville officials packed away a small slice of modern life for residents of tomorrow as part of a Sept. 26 ceremony to replace a memory box in the cornerstone of Brecksville City Hall.

The original time capsule, buried within the walls of city hall in 1972, was opened in 2022 during city hall’s 50th anniversary celebration. The contents of the box included the top 11 songs of 1971 on tape, a history of all Brecksville churches, a 1972 edition of TIME Magazine, several newspaper clippings and a letter written by former Mayor Jack Hruby to the residents of Brecksville.

Mayor Jerry Hruby, the late mayor’s brother, served as the emcee of 2023’s event and kicked off the festivities by relaying the story of how the time capsule came to be and the trouble the city endured as city hall was being constructed.

The cornerstone was laid in 1971, and the building should have been done pretty quickly, Hruby said. Mother Nature, however, had other plans.

“It turns out 1971 was one of the worst winters we’d had in a long time,” Jerry Hruby said, noting that the construction company hired to build the facility erected a tent around the building’s framing and set up heaters inside aimed at drying the mortar and allowing crews to work through the winter. 

“As luck would have it, we got a mammoth winter storm that blew down the tent and did so much damage that we had to abandon the project and wait for spring to start building again.”

Hruby said the streak of bad luck didn’t end there. The day before the building was set to be dedicated, Sept. 26, 1972, the dedication plaque now in the lobby of city hall was delivered bearing a glaring misspelling of former Mayor Ralph W. Biggs’ name.

“Let’s just say the mayor wasn’t a happy man to see ‘Ralph W. Briggs’ written on the sign,’” Hruby joked.

Fortunately, this year’s ceremony moved forward without a hitch and the new memory box, scheduled to be opened during the building’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2072, is safely back in its home.

The capsule features photos of all city buildings constructed since 1971 and signed copies of every program printed for all community events and groundbreaking ceremonies over the past half century.

Also included is a copy of “Image of America: A Celebration of Brecksville’s Bicentennial” along with a penny, nickel, dime and quarter dated 2023.

“Those are on loan to be returned with interest to the city,” Hruby said in jest.

Also included in the box were city challenge coins, a lapel pin from the city’s 25th anniversary festivities, a 50th anniversary keychain from Packard Hardware and a letter penned by Sylvia Fowler on behalf of the Brecksville Historical Association.

“Many individuals also suggested that I should get in the box, too, now that I am retiring,” Hruby teased. “I just couldn’t agree to that.”

Once the service department reinstalled the time capsule in the cornerstone, residents and others in attendance were invited inside city hall for cupcakes and other refreshments. ∞

Photo: Sylvia Fowler, president of the Brecksville Historical Association, helps members of the city’s service department move the time capsule to the cornerstone at Brecksville City Hall. Photo by M. Martin.