Photo and Story by Cody Uhls / Contributing Writer
In 1973, times were much different in Murfreesboro. Artifacts of those times were put on display Friday morning when a time capsule, which was placed in a wall in the Murfreesboro Police Department during its construction in 1973, was retrieved, and the seal broken.
Frank Caperton, president of the Rutherford County Historical Society, opened the capsule for the public to view.
“Last week, Sgt. Kyle Evans called me and said they had this granite marker in the wall,” Caperton said. “They knew there was a time capsule behind it, and they said they were going to open it today because this is the last year the Murfreesboro Police Department on South Church Street will be the headquarters of the MPD.”
The department will be moving to a different building on Highland Avenue, which should be finished next fall.
A crowd of people formed to watch the capsule be opened. Council member Eddie Smotherman of the Murfreesboro City Council was in attendance at the event.
A variety of vintage items were taken out of the box, including MTSU yearbooks, newspapers, multiple car catalogs, books and even a deck of cards.
“It’s going back in time to the 70s when I was a freshman in high school, remembering what was going on in our community in that time,” Smotherman said. “Car dealerships were popular. One of the cars I owned was in the box. Of course it was used when I got it, but it was new in this box. It’s just a great opportunity to reminisce and look back at Murfreesboro’s history.”
The population increase in the past 44 years was mentioned multiple times during the event. In 1973, the population of Murfreesboro barely topped 26,000 people, according to Caperton. Today, the population is roughly 131,000. A recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau labeled Murfreesboro the 10th fastest growing city in the country, as of 2016. MPD has added over 200 more officers since the 1970s, which is why the department decided to relocate to a bigger, more modern facility.
MPD Public Information Officer Kyle Evans explained why they decided to open the box instead of relocating it to the new building.
“Every story has a beginning, and every story has an ending,” Evans said. “We’re ending the story of this building. It’s been 44 years since we occupied it to begin with. We’re ending a chapter and starting a new chapter. We thought, ‘What a great way to close out one chapter of our story,’ and that would be opening this time capsule today, gathering folks around from the Historical Society and people that want to look into Murfreesboro’s past and get excited about Murfreesboro’s future.”
There is discussion of adding a new time capsule to the new building, perhaps using the same box from 1973. According to Smotherman, it could include the marker from the old police station.
“We can preserve that. So, maybe 50 to 100 years from now, it can be opened again,”Smotherman said.
Smotherman, Caperton and Evans believe that the contents of the new capsule should be things that sum up society and culture today.
“(It could be) newspapers,” Caperton said. “(It could be) something near the date the new police department opens, some publications and maybe some CD’s or thumb drives because everything is digital now.”
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