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Jeannette time capsule unearths the past, offers hope for future

| Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 2:13 p.m.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Members of the Christofano family have been involved in the city's time capsule tradition for many years, from left are Frank, Kim, Emily, Anthony Jr., Gloria M., Gloria A. and Anthony Sr.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Mayor Robert Carter introduces the Jeannette Community Band, which was formed in 1988 during the city's centennial celebration.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Elliott Company, which made the time capsule and welded it shut, sent representatives to reopen the container.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Fifty years ago in 1963, Frank Christofano (center) dug up the city's time capsule that had been buried in 1938. He buried the next one and once again dug it up in 1988. He then buried the next one and was on hand to dig it up once again this fall in celebration of the city's 125th Anniversary. With him are Anthony Christofano Jr., left, and Anthony Christofano Sr., right.

Old newspaper articles, VHS tapes and a letter to the Elliot Company were just a few of the years-old items recovered from the city of Jeannette's time capsule this fall as part of the city's 125th anniversary celebration.

“Everything that was in it was as intact as it was the day it was put in the ground,” said Mayor Robert Carter.

Jeannette resident Frank Christofano and his family members, who buried the time capsule in 1962 and removed and buried it again in 1988, removed this year's time capsule as well.

“We thought it would only be fitting for them to do it for the 125th,” Carter said.

Christofano said participating in the event is a tradition for his family.

Carter said about 50 people attended the event in front of city hall, including himself, members of council and state Rep. George Dunbar. The Jeannette Community Band, which was formed in 1988 for Jeannette's centennial celebration, performed songs of various genres for the crowd.

Other items found inside the time capsule, made by the Elliott Company, include letters addressed to various individuals, glassware, a bottle from Gazzosa bottling company, a pamphlet from Monsour Medical Center and memorabilia from the centennial celebration, according to Jeannette Historical Society secretary Margie Hudson.

The items will be on display at the Jeannette Historical Society for at least a month, Hudson said.

She said the society is currently doing inventory of the items and preserving them.

“I think (the time capsule) is important because whenever it's dug up, some of the people that left letters are gone,” Hudson said.

“Their great-grandchildren and grandchildren are actually going to read something written in their handwriting that was meant for them. That keeps the history of our town alive.

“We have a very proud history here, and we have grown. We're in some low times now, but we have a future if we keep the past alive.”

Carter said a new time capsule will be placed in the ground in the near future.

He said the city has to check with the Jeannette Historical Society to determine the criteria for what items can be placed in the capsule and contact Elliot Company to ask if they can construct a new capsule or clean up the used capsule.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or