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Century Chest opening draws crowd in Oklahoma City

The chest had been entombed in the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City's basement for 100 years.
by Matt Patterson Modified: April 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013

“I can say we did it. We're not a large church, but we fulfilled that 100-year pledge today. They did it right 100 years ago.”

Peterson was especially awe-struck by some of the items he didn't expect to see.

“There were some things I knew were in there but some that were surprises,” he said.

“I was intrigued by the pen used by President McKinley that had been placed in the chest. The spoon made out of buffalo horn was fascinating. Today is just the tip of the iceberg of what will be unfolding this year.”

Chet Brooks currently serves as the assistant chief of the Delaware Tribe of Indians.

He drove from Bartlesville on Monday to see the opening of the chest.

“One of the chiefs of the Delaware Tribe in 1913 had a letter to tribe members of 2013, and I wanted to see that,” Brooks said.

“The clothing and phone were really neat. It's a fun way to see what our state was like back then.”

‘Work ahead of us'

Also included in the chest was a quilt with embroidered names of community leaders, numerous photos, recordings of voices from 1913 that will eventually be digitized, a camera and a phonograph.

The Ladies Aid Society of 1913 placed a can of coffee for 2013 Ladies Aid Society members.

The items highlighting technology of the time were crowd favorites.

“The phone was interesting in so many ways,” Williams said.

“They wondered what we would think of something that was relatively new to them. They thought we would scoff at it, but we're not doing that. We're amazed by it. We're amazed they had the foresight to put this in the chest and share it with the people of 2013.”

While the chest has been opened and items unpacked, work remains to be done on the items.

The wax cylinders that hold the voice recordings will need to be digitized. Dozens of messages will be read and cataloged.

The History Center expects to open a Century Chest exhibit in the fall.

“All of these items that have been rolled up will need to be flattened out by using moisture,” Williams said.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Stories of the Ages
by Matt Patterson
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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