1966 Dana Point Harbor time capsule scheduled for opening in August 2016

Capsule Queens (L to R) Selena Forster, Miss San Juan Capistrano; Valeria A. Zagwolski, Miss San Clemente and Nancy C. Buenger, Miss Dana Point at the time capsule sealing and dedication ceremony. Photo: By Bill Laird for Laguna Federal Savings and Loan Association
Capsule Queens (L to R) Selena Forster, Miss San Juan Capistrano; Valeria A. Zagwolski, Miss San Clemente and Nancy C. Buenger, Miss Dana Point at the time capsule sealing and dedication ceremony. Photo: By Bill Laird for Laguna Federal Savings and Loan Association

By Carlos N. Olvera

In these short history articles it is difficult to give a 100 percent accurate account of history on any subject—especially when discussing a 100-year or 50-year-long event. The Dana Point Harbor is one such subject and in just over a year from now the scheduled opening of a time capsule will add to its historical tale.

My mentor, Doris Walker, devoted a whole book, Home Port for Romance, to just this area. And with time, things age and history grows. Historians, like me, enjoy taking trips back in time reading the original words and finding the enhancements of man retelling these stories from memories. But next year we will open the Harbor time capsule with the original documents, mementos and souvenirs that locals 50 years ago wanted us to see.

The harbor concept began just after WWII. It was dedicated on Aug. 29, 1966 and opened on Aug. 1, 1972. On Aug. 29, 2016, after 50 years, the time capsule will be opened with a party and celebration currently in the planning stages by OC Dana Point Harbor officials.

The placing of time capsules outside of Dana Point has been a mixed bag of opinion and use.  The city of Detroit planted a 100-year capsule in 1900.  There was a 5,000-year, 800-pound capsule for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In 1972 the U.S. sent up a plaque on the Pioneer 10 space craft in case it might be intercepted by …?  Critics have stated that the capsules only contain useless junk. Since technology advances so quickly it is hard to know if media within these capsules will even be accessible. Luckily, preservation techniques have improved since the 1968 invention of the Ziploc bag. If capsules remain well-preserved and technology is not lost, the most important question to ask is, “Where did we bury it?”

For the Harbor, an 8-ton granite rock was selected as the tomb.  It was one of 1.4 million tons of other rocks selected for the sea wall. The rocks came from the Twin Oaks quarry near Oceanside and Catalina Island; they were delivered by barge to Dana Point. The prize rock had to have a flat, slanted surface to mount the plaque. The capsule was made of stainless steel, 4 feet long. The rock was cleaned and placed at what was then considered the main entrance to the Harbor near the then extension of Del Obispo. This spot, marked by its latitude and longitude, is one of over 600,000 interesting points shown on www.waymarking.com. Foursquare.com also lists it as a historic site.

In October the capsule was moved for security and placed in its current position at the county offices in Newport Beach.

The Dana Point capsule dedication in 1966 began at 5 p.m., at Doheny State Beach led by then Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Alton E. Allen.  The ceremonies were attended by federal, state and county officials. The organizing committee consisted of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Orange County Coast Association, County Harbor District and Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente civic organizations.

A barbecue ticket is one of the items placed inside the time capsule placed at the Harbor in 1966. Photo: Courtesy of the Olvera Collection
A barbecue ticket is one of the items placed inside the time capsule placed at the Harbor in 1966. Photo: Courtesy of the Olvera Collection

The ceremony included a reenactment of a dory with sailors in period dress rowing ashore from the Pilgrim to trade the hides with the Indians from Mission San Juan Capistrano.  The program included raising a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol presented by Congressman James B. Utt (1899-1970) from the 35th District. The 72nd U.S. Army Band provided the music. Master of ceremonies was Ken Sampson, OC director of harbors and beaches. Lantern Bay developer Don Simpkin was present.

Over 60 items were placed in the capsule by various organizations and individuals. One of the artifacts is a complimentary ticket for a free barbecue dinner promised to follow the scheduled opening in 2016. People who were there 50 years ago also received tickets. Only the original ticket-holders will be eligible to redeem them; no facsimiles will be accepted.

Excitement among history buffs and longtime Dana Point residents is starting to build. And I have already been contacted by a now-Florida resident who plans on being here for the capsule’s opening.

Carlos N. Olvera is Chairman of the OC Historical Commission, and mayor of Dana Point.

 

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (17)

  • I have some Tickets for this event and look forward to attending the BBQ. I called the Dana Point Harbor Master and already placed my order, Prime Rib and Lobster!

    • Jay – Please contact me as we are in the initial planning stages for the event.

      Carlos N. Olvera
      Dana Point City Council

      • Hi there Carlos, I don’t know if Jay ever contacted you regarding the tickets.. several of us worked for Don Hansen on the fishing boats back then. I think Jay has 6 or 8 tickets and we do plan on attending. Jay got the tickets from his mother.

  • Valerie [Zagwolski] Shinkle, Miss San Clemente 1965-66 Reply

    An ol’ school chum from San Clemente High, shared this with me via Facebook! Hat Tip to Dave A.
    I still have this photo along with others from this event, including tickets to the B-B-Q next August in my Scrapbook with many others from my year of service as Miss San Clemente! Though I have resided in the Pacific Northwest for most of the last 50 years, I plan to come home to join in the fun! Please feel free to contact me.

    • Valerie – Miss San Clemente, I have your picture. Please contact me as we are in the initial stages of planning.

  • Our late father Howard Bromley helped build that sea wall and us children have great memories of him telling us all about it and the time capsule. Myself and family, my mother and many siblings and their families will be traveling all the way from North East Kansas to attend the event! We have been anxiously awaiting the opening of the capsule for years!

    • Leslie – Thanks for contacting me. Yes, we are now beginning the planning the celebration. Send me you contact information and I will put you on the list. Please let me know if you have any memorabilia to share that can be copied. See you soon.

      colvera@danapoint.org
      Orange County Historical Commission, Chair
      Dana Point City Council, Councilman

      • I am a sister to Leslie and am currently planning our trip to California, there is 6 in my immediate family that will be there. Would love to attend the ceremony and dinner need to know how to make reservations etc. Thank you so much!
        Rachel

  • Cynthia Ossowski ( Nelson) Reply

    I was 10 years old at the time of this event and have kept my ticket to the BBQ for all these years. I look forward to the opening of the time capsule and plan to be there!

    • Cynthia – Thanks for contacting me. Yes, we are now beginning the planning the celebration. Send me your contact information and I will put you on the list. Please let me know if you have any memorabilia to share that can be copied. See you soon.

      colvera@danapoint.org
      Orange County Historical Commission, Chair
      Dana Point City Council, Councilman

  • I was 12 years old when my grandparents brought me and some of my cousins from San Juan Capistrano to the Harbor to watch the construction of the Harbor. I remember the Time Capsule ceremony, and have a ticket from that day for the B-B-Q.. I live in SE Arizona now but lived in San Clemente for 12 years. I still have good friends in the area and will be there on 9/29

    • Tom – Thanks for contacting me. Yes, we are now beginning the planning the celebration. Send me your contact information and I will put you on the list. Please let me know if you have any memorabilia to share that can be copied. See you soon.

      colvera@danapoint.org
      Orange County Historical Commission, Chair
      Dana Point City Council, Councilman

  • I was 13 years old when the time capsule was set and my family attended the ceremony. My parents, Mac & Maytie McClaran, were members of the Orange County Boating Club. The Club was asked to assist in the planning of the harbor layout. I recall that the Club protested the original plan that did not have a ramp for launching boats from trailers and was instrumental in getting that changed. A brochure for the Orange County Boating Club was included inside the time capsule, and my picture is featured in the brochure. My wife and I still live in OC, as to our two daughters, so we are planning to be there for the opening. I can bring Club artifacts as well if you think it would be helpful and interesting to those in attendance.

    • Mark –

      Please contact me so I can put you on my list of contacts. I might like to include you in an interview as we are making a documentary of the event.

      colvera@danapoint.org
      Orange County Historical Commission, Chair
      Dana Point City Council, Councilman

  • Hi. I also have tickets and have looked forward to this for years with my parents who unfortunately have passed (Tom and Jan Winget) I attended RH Dana Elementary and my family saw transformation of Dana Point as the harbor came to be. My mother won a contest for the Dana Point sign in 1962 and also designed the first sweatshirt for RH Dana school. Cant wait to attend. Thanks

  • Hi. I have two tickets to this event and look forward to attending with my wife and sister. I was a boy scout in Dana Point Troop 411 and we were part of the ceremony 50 years ago. I grew up in Dana Point and watched the harbor being built. We used to surf at Doheny during construction. We snorkeled through the whole harbor (and even jumped off the bridge!). I currently live in Kent, Washington. I would be interested in sharing/speaking if you would be interested. I look forward to this.

  • Jeffrey H. Barney Reply

    Hello to all my old Dana Point pals. I to was in Troop 411 and attended the ceremony 50 years ago. I have been waiting for this event for some time now. My wife & I have reservation to stay up the Ortega at Caspers Regional Park. We are in need of three tickets for this Big event. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again…Even though I may not recognized them…LOL!

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