What We Would Put in the Rocky Mount Time Capsule

map old time capsules in rocky mount


Last year, Rocky Mount passed another landmark. While we celebrate the past, we can’t help but wonder what our future holds.

In 2017, Rocky Mount turned 150 years old, and the celebrations were highlighted by the opening of a time capsule in the fall. Afterwards, residents had a chance to submit suggestions for what they thought should be placed in a new time capsule to be opened in 50 years.

Way back when --- burial of the first time capsule in 1967

The 21st Century must have seemed a world away to those who buried the original time capsule. Who knows what they thought the next 150 years in Rocky Mount would bring? Perhaps they fantasized that it would be like a space-age novel, complete with flying cars. Regardless, we feel sure they believed that Rocky Mount would still be full of citizens who were dedicated to their city and to their neighbors.


The first time capsule was buried in Braswell Park and contained items such as:

  • A map of the city
  • Yearbooks from Rocky Mount Senior High, Wesleyan College and Booker T. Washington High School
  • TV tapings of the centennial celebration
  • Several clippings from the Rocky Mount Telegram
  • A miniature ACL train
  • A vinyl recording of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride"
  • Fresca and 7-Up bottles

If you'd like to see a photo of the event and read the original news article, you can visit the NC Digital Library Archive.

What would we have put in the Rocky Mount time capsule? 

While the city has sealed the time capsule to be opened in another 50 years, we couldn't help but think about what we would have selected to go in it. We’ve come up with a few ideas:

  1. Information on Dr. Martin Luther King and the "I Have a Dream" speech
    As almost every Rocky Mount native knows, the city was the first place Dr. Martin Luther King used the words "I have a dream" in a speech. Recently, further archival footage of the event was discovered and we’d love to somehow make a copy of that and include it in the time capsule.

  2. Bricks from the city's renovation
    The face of the city is changing, and we think it would be good to commemorate that. We’d like to include some bricks from the older buildings along with “before” and “after” photos of downtown.

  3. Past Editions of the Rocky Mount Telegram

  4. Photos and stories about Hurricane Floyd
    While this happened in 1999, it was such a devastating event for Rocky Mount that it is permanently etched in the minds and hearts of all those it affected.

  5. Bottles from the local breweries at Rocky Mount Mills

  6. High School yearbooks

  7. An iPod loaded with some of the hit songs by popular artists (we’re sure Beyonce and Taylor Swift would make the cut)

What would you have put in the time capsule?

Just like those citizens of 50 years ago, we also have a bright vision for Rocky Mount. Our city has experienced extensive downtown development and the promise of new employment opportunities. And maybe, just maybe, in 2067 we’ll have those flying cars!
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