As I promised in an earlier column, we would be printing the suggestions of folks who submitted ideas for a time capsule which will be suspended (instead of buried) in the new, impressive Billings Public Library.
The assignment seems straightforward: What items would you suggest putting in the time capsule? What items will say the most about Billings, 2014 when folks open the capsule for Billings' sesquicentennial?
Here are some of the answers so far.
Sharon Harris writes: "My recommendation for the time capsule in the Billings Public Library would, of course, be a copy of the official Billings city song which I understand was performed at the library dedication. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that momentous gathering.
"It was my husband, the late Ed Harris, who was commissioned by the then First Northwestern Bank in 1977 to compose this piece and it remains to this day, the official city song. Due to the nature of its sing-ability, lyrics, and importance to Billings, I would urge you to consider it for the time capsule and would be ever so grateful if it was included for its historical significance. Its lyrics represented Billings in 1977 and they remain relevant today, representing life in our wonderful city.
"I would be able to provide you with a copy of this composition since I have several in my possession."
Beth Dopp writes, "A packet of common vegetable seeds, such as carrots or beans—gardening and canning are a big part of my life in Billings. Even now in the middle of winter we are planning our garden and eating up our stored produce from last season. Additionally, agriculture has a very significant history in our area going back to our founding and we’re seeing more and small-scale local farmers and gardeners contributing to our local food economy.
"A vial or container of water from the Yellowstone River — this river is our lifeblood and without it (and the railroad, too) we would not exist here. We drink its purified waters every day. We also use it for recreation and irrigation both of which contribute greatly to our community."
Karen Sanford Gall suggests, "Current map of Billings, Billings Gazette or Magic City Magazine, latest technology phone or tablet."
Janet Ganson wrote to remind folks that 2013 and 2014 wasn't the first push for a new library. She sent a letter to the editor that she had written in June 1965 that praised then-mayor Willard Fraser for his vision of a new library.
One unnamed resident said, "I would add a root of a Bitterroot plant, found on The Rimrocks going up to the airport on North 27th Street; one really old classic book, and a picture of the original Parmly Billings Library on Montana Avenue."
Seja Foster said, "A play bill or tickets from a Billings Studio Theater show."
These are all thoughtful, intriguing ideas.
Bill Cochran and the library staff still have a little time for collecting ideas. You'll have to hurry, though. The deadline for ideas is April 4. So, once again, if you have ideas for what to stow away for the next generation of Billings residents, you may submit items to:
Or, you can send those ideas via mail to: Billings Public Library, Attention: Time Capsule, 510 North Broadway, Billings, MT 59101.