In 1960, Mayor-Commissioner Haydon Burns sealed a time capsule filled with Jacksonville history. City Council President Aaron Bowman and I had the pleasure to open the time capsule as part of a week-long set of activities to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of Jacksonville’s Consolidation.
The capsule was concealed in a cavity behind the cornerstone of the old City Hall building on Bay Street, during the building’s dedication ceremony in October of 1960.
Commissioners placed many items, including a 1907 newspaper, tape recording, photographs, and a budget book. The item that stood out the most to me was a letter from the mayor-commissioner addressed to “the Mayor of the City of Jacksonville at the Time of the Opening of This Cornerstone.”
In that letter, Mayor-Commissioner Burns described Jacksonville as a city that had made “great strides in its place in the sun.” At the time of the City Hall dedication Jacksonville was the 56th largest city by population in the country, and had just served hosted presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon.
Mayor-Commissioner Burns also touted infrastructure investments made to enhance the city, including an expressway system, coliseum, auditorium and more.
He wrote, “It is our hope that you, on the day of the opening of this cornerstone, will reflect favorably and with a degree of appreciation on the efforts of those citizens present on this day of dedication of this City Hall whose endeavours have been directed toward making our city, and now your city, a better place to reside in all respects, just as we, in turn, with grateful hearts reflect on those who have passed this way before us.”
Jacksonville’s forefathers and mothers provided us a strong foundation to lay the groundwork for generations to come. We are a better city because of the investments they made in 1960.
I hope that future generations will look upon our work favorably and will appreciate the investments we made for the future of Jacksonville.