BLUEFIELD, WV – The Bluefield Bicentennial Time Capsule’s Penteli marble monument was finally set in place on its new base on Monday, May 8. The time capsule was reburied on November 4, 2016 after it had been removed from its original location back in August.
In 1976, patriotic Americans celebrating the bicentennial in Bluefield buried a time capsule to be opened in one hundred years for the tri-centennial of the United States. The effort to secure the marble from the Penteli quarry in Greece was led by the late Paul Chryssikos, a proud Greek-American, Ahepan, and member of the Civitan Club.
On August 12, 2016 the time capsule and its unique marble monument were removed by the local chamber of commerce with the intention of opening the time capsule nearly 60 years ahead of the planned opening on July 4, 2076.
Virginia Chryssikos, daughter of the late Paul Chryssikos, spoke with The National Herald about the time capsule and the monument made of marble quarried from Penteli, and the efforts to rebury it in a new location. The earth around the time capsule needed time to settle before the base could be built, Chryssikos told TNH.
She said, “As a local citizen told me today ‘A piece of essential Bluefield history has been saved!’ And this story is not unrelated to other citizen efforts taking place at this time to preserve Bluefield’s history. A great deal of moral support in promoting this reburial project was obtained from a past president of the US Bicentennial Time Capsule project in Braintree, MA, Mr. Patrick Leonard. I am grateful to him for demonstrating by example, how important it is to preserve the history of one’s community and to instill in local citizens the pride and respect that accompany this. Braintree is one of a few other communities, like Bluefield, who will join in and enjoy in 59 years the experience of opening up a time capsule that was prepared for them by local citizens 100 years ago! (Braintree’s bicentennial time capsule is in the center of the Town Square and is in the form of a cairn. Every year local Civic groups and town officials hold an ‘Inspection’ ceremony of the time capsule site on July 4.”
Chryssikos noted the work of Brian Garman, Masonry Instructor at Mercer Technical School, in Princeton, who with a group of his masonry students, after hours, worked on building the base for the monument.
She said, “Please note that the base contains within a 24″ mini-time capsule whose contents will reveal to the Tricentennialists (2076 when the Bicentennial time capsule is to be opened), why the American Revolution Bicentennial Time Capsule and Marble Marker were relocated from the front of the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce where the Bluefield Civitans and City officials, in cooperation with the 1976 Greater Bluefield Area Chamber of Commerce had ceremoniously placed them, to its current spot. The marble monument has great significance in that it came from the birthplace of democracy, donated by members of the local Greek American community in celebration of American’s Bicentennial. Now this marble, is even more priceless in that marble can no longer be dug from the ancient Pentelicon quarry from which it came, as well as that of the marble for the Parthenon over 2,500 years ago.”
Chryssikos told TNH that some landscaping still needs to be completed and she plans to assemble a booklet about the monument. She also hopes a civic organization will take an interest in the monument for a yearly inspection.
“I am grateful to Dane Rideout- City Manager, and J.R. Beggs- Public Works Director, who, along with Mr. Garman, made today’s monument transfer go so smoothly,” Chryssikos said.
The Bluefield Bicentennial Time Capsule was reburied in a new location in Bluefield, WV. Photo by Virginia Chryssikos
The Bluefield Bicentennial Time Capsule was reburied in a new location in Bluefield, WV. Brian Garman, Masonry Instructor at Mercer Technical School, in Princeton, who with a group of his masonry students, after hours, worked on building the base. Photo by Virginia Chryssikos