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Mystery solved: Time capsules discovered in fair arch
Fair capsule pic1
Stanislaus County Fair Maintenance technician Dennis Nichols removes the face plate on the arch gate post to reveal the much anticipated time capsule. Fair officials say they had not removed the plates before Saturday. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

The mystery behind the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds arch gate time capsule was solved Saturday in front of hundreds of on-lookers.

It was rumored that the Turlock chapter of the American Legion had placed a time capsule inside the posts of the arch gate when it was built on April 16, 1929, but there was no official record.

Exactly 82 years later fair maintenance worker Dennis Nichols removed two American Legion Auxiliary plaques with a hefty wrench, one on each post of the gate and revealed two jars filled with rolled up papers. Fair Chief Executive Officer Chris Borovansky unscrewed the rusted lids and uncoiled the papers. One of the jars contained signatures of the American Legion members, another was a list of the members of the Legion’s Auxiliary members.

Adding to the mystery, another document listed the history of the Legion from 1924 to 1931. But if the gate was built in 1929, how could there have been a history through 1931? Evidently the fair’s modern timeline of events was off by a couple of years.

How did this happen? Well, no one is exactly sure but it wouldn’t be the first time in history that dates have been off by a few years.

According to Borovansky, the fair staff and Turlock Historical Society are researching to see if there are any descendants of people listed in the capsule still living in the Turlock area.

In the coming weeks the fair plans to announce that it will be accepting ideas from the public for a new time capsule to be placed during this year’s fair, which is scheduled to begin July 15 for a 10-day run.

Borovansky said he doesn’t know where the time capsule will be buried or placed, but it will be scheduled for retrieval in the year 2111.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141.