Demolition of the Jack Daniels Lounge inside Rockford’s BMO Center this summer has led to the discovery of a time capsule that was placed inside a wall of the downtown arena more than 40 years ago.
According to BMO’s Center’s Facebook page, construction workers stumbled upon the time capsule as they worked on a renovation project.
BMO Center General Manager Gretchen Gilmore said the time capsule was not disturbed, and that the center will build its new bar area around the time capsule, protecting and preserving it until the date on the outside — July 4, 2076.
No one is quite sure what’s inside the box, but the plaque on the outside stating it should be opened when Winnebago County celebrates the nation’s tricentennial.
Forty years ago, the BMO Center was called the Metro Centre. Former Metro Centre General Manager Doug Logan, who is now 80 and living in Saratoga, New York, said he was project coordinator for the construction of the Metro Centre, which opened Jan. 31, 1981.
“We took a lot of care preparing this ‘message in a bottle.'” Logan wrote. “My lips are sealed regarding details of the contents.”
Logan said he and others pledged to never speak of what they put inside the time capsule.
“This is part of the heritage of this wonderful city, and I am thrilled the vessel is being treated with reverence,” he wrote. “See you in 2076!”
BMO Center General Manager Gretchen Gilmore said the time capsule was discovered, encased in a cinder block wall, in mid-June.
The outside reads: “A time to remember. Sealed by the Winnebago County Bicentennial Commission in anticipation of observance of our nation’s tricentennial observance.”
Below the seal, a typed message states in part: “2076! Another hundred years has passed! Although time has silenced our voices, may you still hear their echo, wishing you well as you celebrate this important moment in history: an occasion for rededication, commemoration of accomplishments, and an assessment of where you and where you are going.”
Logan said the commission had just gone through the bicentennial celebration in 1976 when the idea of making a time capsule surfaced.
“We had some memorabilia from that,” he said. “And we thought that the tricentennial was an appropriate date.”