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By Kristina Pritchett

By Kristina Pritchett

Meeting the gaze of curious onlookers for the first time in five decades, items from a 50-year-olrd time capsule were displayed in multiple glass cases at a long-awaited celebration in Dana Point on Monday, Aug. 29.

Along Baby Beach, hundreds of Dana Point residents and spectators sat in chairs at the unveiling ceremony, waiting to see what had been held inside an 8-ton rock for 50 years.

On Monday, Orange County officials, including Supervisor Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, city officials and members of the Dana Point Historical Society unveiled more than 60 items that have been preserved inside of the stainless steel, four-foot tube.

The items were originally locked in the time capsule and “buried” during a rock placing ceremony at Doheny State Beach on Aug. 29, 1966, which coincided with the opening of the Dana Point Harbor. The rock sat with a plaque on top, covering the hole, until May 5, 2016, when Orange County Parks removed the rock in preparation of Monday’s ceremony.

The rock was placed on a truck, and transported to John D. Cooper Archeological and Paleontological Center in Santa Ana to ensure the items were in good condition.

Chris Jepsen, assistant archivist at OC Archives, told guests that rusty paperclips had to removed, chemicals to remove glues had to be used, and the papers had to be flattened.

“Although the items were in surprisingly good condition, we did have to address some problems,” Jepsen said.

Guests of the 1966 ceremony were promised a barbecue dinner if they made it to the 2016 opening and kept their original ticket—and many did. The audience included Miss Dana Point 1966 and Miss San Clemente 1966, Boy Scouts who served during the 1966 ceremony, people who attended the ceremony and their family members.

Inside the capsule, there were photographs of the Harbor, documents from the 1966 ceremony, newsletters from organizations in the city, business cards, newspaper clippings and letters to the future.

“Today is really about all of those who made the Harbor realistic,” said Barbara Johannes, president of the Dana Point Historical Society.

The items will be on display at the city’s Historical Society at City Hall before they return to their permanent home at the Orange County Archives.

“Their research value will benefit historians, students and the general public for hundreds of years to come,” Jepsen said. “Their intended function of providing us with a snapshot of the past has only just begun.”


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