July 22, 2024 Donate


Dexter’s Time-Traveling Treasure Hunt: A Tale of Two Capsules

In a twist that could rival any treasure hunt, Dexter, Michigan, has once again buried a piece of its present for future generations to discover. On the balmy evening of Friday, June 21, 2024, the Dexter Area Historical Society laid to rest a new time capsule, set to be unearthed in 2074 during the city’s Semiquincentennial (that’s a fancy word for 250 years).

This capsule-burying business isn’t new for Dexter. It all started back in 1974 when the town celebrated its Sesquicentennial by burying a time capsule. Fast-forward to February 2024, and the Historical Society decided it was high time to dig up this half-century-old treasure trove. Simple, right? Wrong.

The new maroon and gold vault is lined similar to a truck bed lining. Photo by Doug Marrin

What ensued was a comedy of errors that would make even the most serious historian chuckle. First, metal probing rods came up empty. Then, ground-penetrating radar located the vault… under a sidewalk. But when they dug for it, it wasn’t there either. Technology is awesome when it works. Another probe located it a few feet away. When they finally dug it up, water poured out of a crack in the concrete, turning the time capsule into an accidental aquarium.

As the vault was craned into the light of day, a little girl in the crowd innocently asked, “Is that where we’ll find the guy that went missing?” – a nod to her parents’ earlier Jimmy Hoffa jokes. Who says history can’t be entertaining?

Dexter Mayor Shawn Keough speaks to the crowd gathered to watch history get buried. Photo by Doug Marrin

Bev Hill, a Historical Society Board Member, recounted the adventure to the crowd at the new capsule’s burial. “Our community always steps up for us,” she said before playfully chiding those present at the 1974 burial. So, why didn’t you guys tell us where it was?”

Mayor Shawn Keough spoke at the ceremony, highlighting the importance of preserving history while adding a touch of humor: “Thank you to all those who offered something for the time capsule, and the best of luck for them to find it.”

Kelsey Tingsley of Hosmer Muehlig Funeral Home expressed her excitement for the future: “As we look forward to the next 50 years, I’m so excited to hopefully have my child dig up this time capsule, dry this time, and remember where we put it.”

Items from the community to be included in the new time capsule. Photos by Jorge Gonzales

This time around, the town is taking no chances. The new vault, donated by Brutsche Concrete Works, comes with a waterproof liner. Bollinger Excavating dug the hole, and Arnet’s Memorial donated the headstone to mark the spot. Hopefully, nobody will lay a sidewalk over it this time.

With lessons learned and spirits high, Dexter’s new time capsule was carefully interred. It now rests peacefully, waiting for a new generation of Dexterites to uncover it in 2074. One can only imagine what stories they’ll have to tell when they do. Let’s just hope they remember where they put it.

Photo by Jorge Gonzales