You might know Seward as “Nebraska’s 4th of July City,” but did you know that it also holds a pretty fascinating attraction? Seward is home to the world’s largest time capsule, and in less than a decade it will be opened up for the world to see.
The original time capsule is buried five feet below the ground.
Harold Davisson, a local business owner and historian, wanted to be sure the year 1975 would forever be remembered...so he buried pieces of it underground in a 45-ton vault. Wanting to capture a realistic and complete snapshot of life at the time, he included more than 5,000 items that he thought would be significant to his descendants. Among them are a leisure suit, letters from local people and from people around the country, a brand-new Kawasaki motorcycle, and a brand-new Chevy Vega. Yes, there's a 1975 car in that underground vault.
But that huge underground vault wasn't enough to secure the "world's largest" title.
When Davisson's creation was bestowed with the title of "world's largest time capsule" by the Guinness Book of World Records, a university in Georgia disputed it. Their "time capsule" was actually a crypt - a single sealed room in a campus building. But the university wouldn't drop the claim, so Davisson did the only reasonable thing: he added an enormous second piece to his time capsule to erase all question as to which was the largest. The poured-concrete pyramid was added in 1983.
The second time capsule's contents are arguably a little more eclectic than the first.
Inside the big pyramid sits a beat-up 1975 car, meant to show what society does to a car in 10 years (or maybe Davisson couldn't bear to lock away another brand new car?). There are also stacks of phone books and packages put together by local people to be examined by a future generation.
The whole thing is set to be opened in 2025.
Davisson's goal was to preserve a moment in his life for his grandchildren, to show them what the world was like in his day. And when the capsule is opened in just nine years, Seward and the rest of the world will get to marvel at the treasures left behind in 1975. What may have seemed like odd things to include back then will undoubtedly turn out to be some of the most fascinating things to see once the time capsule is cracked open.
You can visit the world’s largest time capsule at 318 Hillcrest Drive in Seward, in front of the House of Davisson store.