Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tulsa Time Capsule (1957)

On June 15, 1957 a Plymouth Belvedere was buried in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The car was to serve as a time capsule which would be opened in 2007. Among other things, it was packed with films, a commemorative plate and gasoline (in case the people of 2007 didn't have any to start the car).


The June 8, 1957 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) ran an article titled, "Oklahoma Really Whooping It Up For 50th Birthday."
In a steel vault, buried on the lawn before the City's modernistic skyscraper courthouse is a 1957 automobile and many another memento of Oklahoma's 50th year.

"Tulsarama!" visitors filled out cards predicting the city's population in 2007. Closest guess will win the car - 50 years from now - along with a $100 trust fund, plus interest. The money will be paid to the heirs of the guesser if he or she is not alive in the centennial year.

In June of 2007 they dug up the car. It was announced that Raymond Humbertson had, in 1957, submitted the guess (384,743) closest to Tulsa's 2007 population (382,457). Time did not treat the car so well, as evidenced by the photo below.


Mr. Humberston died in 1979. According to an AP story, his closest living heirs are two elderly sisters living in Maryland. It's not clear if they'll receive the trust fund money because according to the Tulsa World, it was "set up with Sooner Federal Savings and Loan Association, which was liquidated in the 1990s."

Be sure to check out the Flickr page of Michael Bates, who has some great photos of the unearthing.

See also:
Lost and Stolen Time Capsules
Year 2000 Time Capsule (1958)
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)

6 comments:

Amio Cajander said...

Great Story - Great Post

So my grandma was right...

Future is Here at last

Anonymous said...

It's funny.

Since I read the post I can't help singing "tulsa time"

"....living on tulsa time.....living on tulsa time..."

Wutzke said...

The Soooner bank would have been the trustee, I imagine, so the "body" of the trust should be safe. A trustee's bankruptcy or sale doesn't affect the trust assets (otherwise it would kind of defeat the purpose of the trust).

Actually pretty admirable foresight on their part to include gas with the car, in case we Jetsons didn't still have gasoline. Too bad they didn't put the car under an oil tarp too...

Anonymous said...

Yow! Just the sort of vehicle you'd expect to see pulled out a bayou with a couple of skeletons in the trunk! Such were the days before Ziebart.

Mark Plus said...

I grew up in Tulsa, and I had never even heard of this time capsule until the date to open it had arrived. So I can understand how time capsules can go missing and forgotten.

I find it interesting that Okies back in 1957 had enough of an attention span and belief in a secular future to put together a time capsule. These days way too many Okies believe in the rapture and Armageddon. In practice that means they've effectively discounted the world 50 years from now down to zero.

Wutzke said...

Maybe the 1957 Okies wanted the future left-behinds to see what miraculous technology had been available to good Xtian folk before god took them to Planet G-42.