The mystery continues as to what was inside the time capsule outside the Village Office, sealed away 25 years ago to mark the Village of Corrales’ 25th anniversary as an incorporated municipality. It’s now 50 years on, so the safe was to be opened to the amazement of onlookers and wellwishers, perhaps to be re-sealed with present-day items and mementos that would amaze folks in another 25 years, or 2046.

But it took the Fire Department’s mental-bending “jaws of life” to break into the safe after many tries to open it using the prominently posted and clearly legible combination for the lock. With perhaps 20 people looking on, Village officials tried twisting the combination dial as instructed: “right to zero, left to 20, right to 50, left to 96. Grasp handle and pull very hard.”

No matter who tried, nor how hard they pulled, the handle would not budge.

One of the onlookers made the suggestion that others surely thought: call in the Fire Department known for its success in prying open crumpled car doors to extricate injured accident victims.

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A team arrived promptly and first tried to insert a wedge between the door and the safe frame. Hammering and wedging failed, so finally the jaws of life was put to work. Even then, opening the time capsule was not easy.

Finally the mangled door lay open and the contents exposed: basically a soggy mess. If the time capsule was meant to be air-tight, is certainly was not water-tight.

Virtually everything inside the safe was soaked, so that any attempt to lift any paper would have torn several. So Mayor Jo Anne Roake quickly decided the best course of action was to let it all dry out. She described the contents as “two very water-logged albums, a rusted beverage can and a VHS tape. It did not look good.”

The mayor said the items would be entrusted to archivist Ann Van Camp and Corrales Historical Society Archive Committee member Kitty Tynan who offered assurance that eventually some of the enclosed print material will be readable.

“This preservation project is ongoing and will be documented and made part of a Corrales Historical Society file memorializing the great effort put into assembling the time capsule 25 years ago,” Roake said in consolation.

Actually most of the time capsule contents have been  known for 25 years since Corrales Comment reported on the project at the time. On July 4, 1997, villagers gathered to place the time capsule which was to be opened  September 22, 2021. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIV No.9 June 20, 2015 “Creepy, Crumbling Concrete  Case Contains July 1997 Time Capsule.”)

Reported to be inside the safe were at least the following:

  • A 1971 group photograph of the Village of Corrales’ first mayor and Village Council;
  • a group photo of the 1997 mayor and council;
  • a list of all Village elected officials serving from 1971 to 1997;
  • group photos of the Corrales Volunteer Fire Department, Police Department, the Corrales Library staff and patrons of the Corrales Senior Center;
  • a postmark from the days when Corrales’ official name was “Sandoval;”
  • a photograph of the then-young Corrales Growers’ Market;
  • a videotape of the celebration of Corrales’ 25th anniversary at the Old Church;
  • photos of Corrales horses;
  • a message written by then-Mayor Gary Kanin;
  • a copy of Pauline Eisenstadt’s book on Corrales’ heritage;
  • a copy of Corrales Comment’s special edition on the 25th anniversary;
  • photographs by Jim Findley of Corrales’ first municipal election;
  • photographs of Corrales’ historic homes and structures; and
  • documents about the community’s early history.

It is likely that most, if  not all, of those items can be assembled again if the soaked items cannot be restored.

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