CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fifty years after it was buried, the only items that survived inside a time capsule opened Sunday in Charlotte were a metal audio reel and a key to the city. The rest had been destroyed by moisture.

But we know, from a 1964 newspaper story, about some of the items that were originally put in the capsule. Among them, pictures of Charlotte s best-dressed men and women, the first ticket sold at the Park Terrace Theater where the capsule was buried and bulletins from Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

Also inside, a letter written by Mayor Stan Brookshire in 1964, meant to be read by Charlotte s mayor in 2014. The letter disintegrated over the decades, but much of the text was contained in the newspaper story which was preserved in microfilm at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

In the above video, Levine Museum of the New South historian Tom Hanchett and Brookshire neighbor Carol Dabbs talk about the predictions contained in the letter, and which ones came true.

The entire text of the Charlotte News story is below:

Mayor Stan R. Brookshire wrote a letter today, but it won't be delivered until 2014 A.D.

The mayor sealed it with a key to the city in a compartment at the new Wilby-Kincey Theater on Park Rd. Opening ceremonies were held this morning.

The letter, addressed to the mayor of Charlotte in the year 2014 A.D., said I would imagine you are presiding over a city of more than 1,000,000 people, and that you are deriving considerable personal satisfaction from serving a wonderful and growing metropolitan city.

Mayor Brookshire said that he guessed the mayor of 2014 faced many of the same problems of Charlotte of 1964. I sincerely hope that no intervening wars have added to your problems.

Mayor Brookshire gave a brief description of Charlotte of 1964 and mentioned such points as the new zoning ordinance, the proposed government plaza, slum clearance, the redevelopment program and the housing code.

He mentioned the 20-Year Thoroughfare Plan and the planned opening and widening of downtown streets and adding circumferential belt lines around the city.

In the area of human progress, the letter said, Charlotte, out of civic pride and social conscience, has moved to correct inequalities of the past, having within the last year dropped discrimination based on color or national origin in most places of public accommodation, has extended full citizenship rights and is making progress in providing economic opportunities to all citizens on a like basis.

This, we believe will enable more of our citizens to become self-respecting, self-supporting and contributing members of our free society, thereby raising the level of citizenship and building a better day.

I have mentioned only briefly some of the more important things going on in our city today, the results of which should shape our city in the future and which perhaps will be apparent in the year 2014 A.D., the letter said.

Mayor Brookshire said he wished you and all the citizens of Charlotte in the year 2014 much health, happiness and success.

Read or Share this story: