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Future History
Winthrop time capsule

photoWinthrop Chamber of Commerce president Julie Muyllaert, Winthrop mayor Dave Acheson, and Liberty Bell High School senior Justin McMillan prepare a time capsule commemorating 40 years of Westernization for burial in Mack Lloyd Park. It's to be  opened in 2052.

When 18-year-old Justin McMillan turns 58, the 280-pound steel time capsule he built in Barry Stromberger’s welding class will be opened—if anyone remembers to dig it up.

Conceived by the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce to commemorate 40 years of Westernization, the capsule will be buried sometime this week adjacent to the plaque and flagpoles dedicating Winthrop’s town park to Mack Lloyd.

Among the items buried are letters from local grandparents to their grandchildren, copies of the Methow Valley News, photos of Winthrop taken by Kristen Smith, and a commemorative coin celebrating the 1972 opening of the North Cascades Highway donated by local artist Paula Christen. “I had four of them. I could part with one,” she told Grist.

Sixth-generation valley resident Kindra Ann Harris, 17, wrote: “I can only hope that this town will be the way that it is today 40 years from now.”

Lest this gift to the future is overlooked by coming generations, chamber president Julie Muyllaert and Winthrop mayor Dave Acheson said they’ll enter a record of the burial into the town council and chamber minutes and probably place a little plaque by the capsule that says it’s to be opened in 2052.

McMillan reported that there’s actually a website where the burial can be registered that will send out an e-mail message reminder to dig up the capsule when the time comes—if that website service is still available 40 years hence and the e-mail notification address remains the same, of course.

Asked if he plans to attend the capsule opening ceremonies, McMillan said, “I think so. I hope so.” Acheson, who’ll be 84 then, and Muyllaert, who’ll be 87, were non-committal.


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