The Curious Case of Dexter’s Misplaced Memories
In the quiet town of Dexter, a real-life treasure hunt is unfolding. The Dexter Area Historical Society, led by its determined president, Bev Hill, and Kelsey Tingley of Hosmer-Muehlig Funeral Chapel, is on a quest. Their mission? To locate a time capsule buried nearly half a century ago but is now mysteriously missing.
Skip back a moment to June 1974, during Dexter's Sesquicentennial celebration. Dexterites marked the occasion by gathering their mementos to bury in a time capsule to be unearthed at the Dexter Bicentennial festivities in June 2024. But there's a twist - the capsule isn't your typical small box. It's a casket sealed inside a concrete burial vault. It seems that would be hard to lose, especially with a headstone marking the spot where they buried it.
Bev wanted to check in on the time capsule in plenty of time before next summer’s celebration. Water might have seeped in, or who knows what else might have happened to the contents during their interment. It’s best to find out before there’s a crowd watching. The plan was to dig it up, open it, and rebury it if everything checked out. Bev got a team ready with a metal rod to probe the ground out in front of the museum to determine its exact location.
As Bev recounts, the capsule was believed to be under a headstone in front of the Dexter Area Museum. "We probed all out front, right in front of the museum," she explains, but the capsule was nowhere to be found. Kelsey, bringing her expertise as a funeral director who knows a thing or two about burial vaults, joined the probe. "We found coal, chicken wire, and garbage, but no time capsule," she adds, detailing the unusual discoveries during their search.
While buried garbage is, in its own way, a time capsule, it wasn’t a substitute for the real thing.
Back in 1974, Hosmer Funeral Home (now Hosmer-Muehlig Funeral Chapel) provided the coffin, concrete vault, and horse-drawn hearse to transport it to its interment. Hosmer put the time capsule somewhere in the ground, and Hosmer-Muehlig is overseeing its exhumation.
Their quest is not for the faint-hearted. Bev initially thought it would be a simple dig, but the reality is more complex. "You have to crack the vault because it's sealed," she explains. Kelsey points out the scale of the challenge: "It's a good chunk of concrete that we can’t find. We’ll need heavy machinery when we do."
The capsule holds personal memories from Dexter's residents. Bev tells of football schedules and peace bracelets from the Vietnam era. "People could put what they wanted to be remembered 50 years in the future," she says, capturing the essence of this community time capsule.
The Dexter Area Historical Society's journey to uncover the town’s buried past has become a fun story of collaboration, mystery, and a shared history, awaiting its grand reveal. As Dexter eagerly awaits its Bicentennial, one question remains: Where is the elusive time capsule?
If you were there and/or happen to know or have some ground-penetrating equipment you’d be willing to use in the effort, give the historical society a call at 734-426-2519.