It really is like time in a bottle with the sights, sounds and even smells from a time gone by locked away by one era and awaiting to be opened by another one. We call them time capsules and they are almost always a remarkable find. Although this capsule was not a local find, its treasures can be witnessed by anyone and allow for them the opportunity to find a connection to their own lives from the past. What started as a simple fundraiser by Virginia Sohlberg of the First English Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City, would become known as the ‘Century Chest’ after remaining buried for 100 years. It’s origins are buried in Sohlberg’s desire to raise money for a new church organ. Its legacy, however, would grow into much more as people from across the state became involved. It is an interesting journey across time as one marvels at the days of yesteryear housed within the exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center in OKC. Not just because the relics bring about an experience of Oklahoma in 1913, but due to the foresight that was at the center of the project. It is a literal voice that carries the past to the present. That voice belonged to Oklahoma pioneer Angelo C. Scott whose voice echoed through time by use of an Edison recording device that used wax cylinders for recording. Using their foresight, the organizers knew that any technology used to send their message would be so outdated in 100 years, that even a surviving recording would be lost without a method to play it. So they chucked the recorder/player in the chest as well. Although there are many aspects of this time capsule that make it unique, the most notable is the spirit of these early pioneers who truly wanted to connect with those in the future. There were several letters of correspondence written to family members in the future. The History Center made those letters available to the descendants so they could open them as was intended by their ancestors. For those few who have not yet been located, their correspondence still awaits them…unopened. Another aspect that sets this project apart from others is the spirit of community that overtook it. People from all walks of life shared in this desire to save a bit of their world for the one in the future. Native Americans, business people and those of different faiths, women, children and many others deposited small pieces of their lives in order to create a melting pot of early statehood memories that would simmer for a century awaiting to serve the state a humble taste of its beginnings. I could fill up this entire paper with photos and stories that pertain to this chest, but unfortunately I cannot. So I have chosen a few trinkets of information in which to share. It is my hope that each reader will seek out what awaits them at the exhibit and learn about this fascinating journey of 100 years by our ancestors. I would however, like to share some prophecies from some of the prominent men of the time before completing this article. “Your distant correspondence will be done instantaneously by electrical means all through business hours and only letters with document enclosure will come to you by the slower moving mails.” “Your deposits will be larger than ours in proportion to numbers of depositors, not only because depositors will become richer but because more and more banks of this country will have become the depositors of credit rather than money.” -Frank P. Johnson

To view all the items in the Century Chest, please visit Annual meeting 018 38 28 23 19 18 15 13 7 6 4 1 Wesstfall Camera 2-2014 017 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA oklahoma city century chest 1913 2013 first lutheran church mada choctaw chicasha mercedes-benz virginia lee boyles photo~3 oklahoma city century chest 1913 2013 first lutheran church mada choctaw chicasha mercedes-benz virginia lee boyles photo~2 oklahoma city century chest 1913 2013 first lutheran church mada choctaw chicasha mercedes-benz virginia lee boyles photo~1 coffee can 0011 23267.27.Century Chest opening 4-22-2013 004 (13)