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To commemorate landmark moment, time capsule buried at Val Verde Park


Posted: May 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The public gathered at Val Verde Park on May 3 to contribute small items for capsule that will provide future residents with a snapshot of life in 2014.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of a landmark moment in local history, items were collected on May 3 for a time capsule to be buried at Val Verde Community Regional Park.

Members of the community brought letters, photos, business cards, and other small items which were included in the capsule.

The event honored a moment that will long live in local lore: On April 16, 1939, a cornerstone laying ceremony was held at the park site for a new pool building and bathhouse funded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration - part of a New Deal plan to employ Americans affected by the Great Depression.

That ceremony was a prominent event, drawing a who’s who of Los Angeles’ African-American luminaries. Among those attendance: the late Hattie McDaniel, who won an Oscar for her role in “Gone with the Wind.”

As the years went by, the time capsule largely faded from memory; but fate would intervene in 1994, when the devastating Northridge earthquake caused major damage to the pool building. During the demolition process that preceded reconstruction, workers discovered a shiny copper box amidst the rubble.

Its contents were a perfect snapshot of the town’s history. Among the inventoried memories were personal letters and photographs by local residents, an autographed portrait of McDaniel and newspapers with banner headlines telling of President Roosevelt’s appeals for peace in the years before America would enter World War II. Many of those items, and others, are now on display in the Val Verde Park community room.


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