Johnnie St. Vrain: Is There a Time Capsule at Button Rock Dam?
Dear Johnnie St. Vrain: At the base of the dam at Ralph Price Reservoir is a plaque attached to the stone wall. Before the floods of 2013, there was a plaque stating that a time capsule was located behind it and when it was to be opened. Who placed this time capsule? Does it still reside there? When was it placed and when will it be opened?
Dear Mary: You’ll be happy to know I have answers to all of your questions.
First, some background.
The Button Rock Dam is located near the outlet control house at Button Rock Preserve, a popular hiking area in a river valley near Lyons. The preserve holds two reservoirs — Longmont and Ralph Price (the mayor at the time) reservoirs. The Button Rock Dam is, as you said, found in the latter.
While this piece of land is a little ways away, the city manages the reservoirs and watershed, as it’s used as storage for its water utility.
Construction for the dam and reservoir lasted from 1965 until 1969. At the time, a plaque was placed on the dam. So was the subject of your question — a time capsule, according to Ken Huson, water resources manager for the city.
Fortunately, the area around it wasn’t affected by the flood, he said. Most of the water flow from the reservoir went over the spillway and into north St. Vrain Creek, about a half-mile below the dam, outlet and time capsule.
“This is one of the really great safety features of this dam and reservoir, in that the spillway is located in an area well away from the dam so that in times of high streamflow, there is no impact on the dam or related facilities,” Huson said.
According to the plaque, the Longmont Association of Retired Persons placed the time capsule behind the plaque. It’s to be opened 100 years from the completion of the dam, which means we will all have to wait until 2069.
That may seem like a long ways away, but we are halfway through. The 50th anniversary of Button Rock Dam will be celebrated in February, Huson said.
A replacement plaque was placed over the old plaque recently, Huson added, detailing the timeline of the dam, who was involved in the city at the time, and a sentence about the time capsule. Does anyone have any guesses as to what’s inside?