February 23, 2012

An interesting discovery was made this month In the midst of a major remodeling project in the historic 120 year old Crandall Building on the corner of First South and Main Street in downtown Salt Lake City.  A time capsule had been bricked into an exterior wall in the space that was leased by the first Federal Savings and Loan.  In celebration of their grand opening, a letter dated November 25, 1959 explained the purpose of the time capsule as well as the contents.  Inside were two local newspapers, a photo of the bank employees and a collection of 12 letters from various local businessmen predicting what life in Salt Lake City would be like in the year 2000, the year they hoped the box would be opened.

The writers of the predictions read like a who’s who of prominent Salt Lake City movers and shakers of the day including,  A. Ray Olpin, president of the University of Utah,  E.M. Naughton, president of Utah Power and Light, W. T. Nightingale, president of Mountain Fuel Supply, Anton F. Peterson, General Manager of Newspaper Agency Corp., Sherman P. Lloyd, general counsel of the Utah Retail Grocers Assoc., Harold D. Glazier, president of the Home Builders Association, Arthur F. Kelly, vice president of Western Airlines, Gus P. Backman, secretary of the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, Marion C. Nelson, president Gillham Advertising Agency, Elias J. Strong of the Utah Automobile Dealers Association, Stanford P. Darger, manager of the Retail Merchants Bureau, and Mr. M.L. Dye, president of First Federal Savings and Loan.

Some of the 52 year old predictions were quite accurate such as Pres. Olpin’s prediction that,“ television receivers in the form of wall panels would be in all classrooms and in virtually every room of individual homes, with educational programs available at all hours of the day at the flip of a switch.”

Mr. Peterson accurately predicted that they would be, “producing newspapers which will be printed right in the subscriber’s home by means of electronic transmission and reproduction”.  Can anyone say I-Pad?

Mr. Kelly of Western airlines didn’t quite get it right when he predicted that, “All cargo and mail in remote areas from Salt Lake will be delivered by missiles and rockets – radio controlled from point of origin to destination.”

Mr. Darger predicted that we would all be, “wearing clothing that incorporates heating coils such as are used today in electric blankets. They will be powered by transisterized batteries with rheostats to adjust the degree of warmth desired. Woven into our summer clothing will be coils for cooling.” He also added that, “It is probable that neckties and cuff buttons will not be part of men’s clothing in the year 2000, and men and women will wear considerably brighter colors.”

There were several predictions of moving sidewalks in the downtown area which have yet to be invented though they do exist at the airport.  The prediction of quiet electric cars was a good guess but the hovercraft automobile has yet to appear.

In connection to the grand opening First Federal gave away a 1960 Ford Falcon, an R.C.A. Color Television set and many other prizes. Also included in the time capsule is a passbook savings account with a deposit of $50.00 to be given to the first baby born in Utah in the year 2000.

Mr. Robert E. Crandall, who has owned the building since 1955 knew many of the men who contributed to the time capsule. First Federal Savings did extensive “modernization” to the face of the Crandall Building which included a decorative cinder block and granite fascia. The building has been undergoing an extensive restoration to return it to nearly its original state by removing the block and restoring the sandstone.

First Federal closed its doors sometime in the 1970’s and was purchased by another bank. The time capsule was forgotten.

With the massive City Creek development soon to open its doors this glimpse into what city leaders envisioned half a century ago adds an interesting perspective to the reality of what Salt Lake City has become today.

Written by:  Mary Crandall Naegle

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