Photos, Video: Time Capsule Discovered in Hart Center From Building’s 1975 Completion

The "Hart-shaped box" celebrates Holy Cross athletics more than 40 years ago, as College looks ahead to the future of the program today
January 15th, 2018 by 

A construction worker hammers into the wall of the Hart Center to extract the time capsule, a piece of history, sealed into the wall in 1975.
A Bond Construction worker hammers into the wall of the Hart Center to extract the time capsule sealed into the wall in 1975. Photo by Tom Rettig

The time capsule lays on the ground around broken brick after being released from wall of Hart Center.
How the contents of the time capsule looked after the rivets holding on the cover were unscrewed — all carefully wrapped in a stiff cellophane. Photo by Tom Rettig

Former President Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J.
Former President Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J. '49 reveals the bronze placard at the grand opening of the Hart Center in January 1976. At the very bottom of the image you can see one corner of a gray rectangle.

In another photo from that snowy evening, the back of the print reads "Fr. (Vincent) Lapomarda points to time box, January 1976."
In another photo from that snowy evening, the back of the print reads "Fr. (Vincent) Lapomarda points to time box, January 1976." These two photos together, two of the many from that night (that are held in the College Archives), led to the location and discovery of the time capsule.

On a seemingly normal day atop Mount St. James, HCM’s own art director and designer, Stephen Albano, made a historic discovery. While searching through the Holy Cross Archives, Albano found two photos that alluded to something in the walls of the Hart Center. Filled with intrigue, Albano dug deeper and began examining photos for minute details, hunting for clues that might have before been overlooked.

One of the two photos showed a box being put into a brick wall and the other showed an inscribed metal plaque that marked the location of the box. Albano came to the conclusion that these two pictures were evidence of the existence of a time capsule in the walls of the Hart Center! At the time, Holy Cross was doing demolition on the Hart Center as part of construction of the Luth Athletic Complex, and on April 6, 2016, the hidden artifact was unearthed.

In 1975, Holy Cross built its first athletic facility, the Hart Recreation Center, named in honor of Rev. Francis J. Hart, S.J., who was the guiding force behind intramurals at the College for more than 40 years. Since then, the Hart Center has been the home to years of excitement and pride surrounding the Holy Cross athletic teams. Just as the Hart Recreation Center represented an inspirational vision for Holy Cross Athletics, the Luth Athletic Complex will be the cornerstone of Holy Cross’ athletics success for years to come.

 The time capsule’s contents are laid out

The construction of the Luth Athletic Complex, and necessary demolition of parts of the Hart Center, gave the campus community a chance to explore the historic time capsule. The capsule contained a variety of College memorabilia including:

  • Newspaper copies: “Worcester Telegram”; “The Evening Gazette”; “The Catholic Free Press”; “The Crusader”; and “Crossroads,” including the December 1975 issue that marks opening night at the Hart Center;
  • A bronze Commonwealth of Massachusetts American Revolution bicentennial medal;
  • An American Revolution bicentennial flag, dating from 1776 to 1976;
  • A black beaded necklace with Christ and Virgin Mary;
  • A St. Ignatius Loyola Fundator Society of Jesus token;
  • A small manila envelope of mementos from Rev. Francis J. Hart, S.J., dated Jan. 14, 1976;
  • A typewritten letter posting about scheduling intramural basketball playing times;
  • A newspaper article about Will Jenks ’54, indicated with a handwritten note as a “dear friend” of Fr. Hart.

The items in the time capsule pay tribute to past presidents, as well as to the Jesuit ideals of the College. They provide a look into the way Holy Cross presented itself to its community, and how the College continues to strive to improve as an institution and as men and women for and with others.

With the expansion of the Hart Center into the Luth Athletic Complex, there is an increasing focus on providing more opportunities for every individual at Holy Cross to engage with athletics, just as was envisioned when the Hart Center was built. The Hart Center time capsule allows the campus community to reflect on the years of history and milestones that make up the College of the Holy Cross and to look forward to our bright future!

Web Exclusive

See a video of the time capsule being exhumed and opened below:


Written by Kathleen Dougherty ’18 for the Winter 2018 issue of Holy Cross Magazine.

About Holy Cross Magazine

Holy Cross Magazine (HCM) is the quarterly alumni publication of the College of the Holy Cross. The award-winning publication is mailed to alumni and friends of the College and includes intriguing profiles, make-you-think features, alumni news, exclusive photos and more. Visit magazine.holycross.edu/about to contact HCM, submit alumni class notes, milestones, or letters to the editor.

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