The Day Denton Failed to Open the First State Bank Time Capsule
Glen Farris, downtown dweller, local musician, and statesman, woke up on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 filled with anticipation. Today was the day the First State Bank Time Capsule, located on the corner of Hickory and Locust, in front of the downtown Wells Fargo building, was to be opened. Fully expecting the site to be surrounded by workers with jack hammers, cement saws, and preparations beginning for this 100th anniversary celebration, Glen headed to the site to see nothing of the sort.
At 8:46am, he posted this picture on his Facebook timeline with the statement: “Denton, we have a problem. We had 20 years to plan for this day.”
News spread quickly through social media. Conspiracies were formed, offers of vigilante digging came forward, and a city-wide sense of unease took over as to the proper response to what was looking like an obvious failure of execution.
Glen knew the people needed a voice of calm and assurance in this time of instability. By 7pm, he launched a city-wide invitation to the event “See You At the Capsule,” inviting citizens to gather at the site of the capsule at 12:01am on September 13. In his words…
On September 12, 1992, the good people at First State Bank, Denton, TX buried a time capsule with the hopes that we would be responsible enough to open it 20 years later. Even though it’s been engraved in brass on the sidewalk of the southeast corner of our square and we had 20 years to plan for this day, somehow we have failed to follow these simple directions.
Tonight let’s raise Time Capsule awareness and raise our glasses at 12:01AM and celebrate our failure as a community to follow the SIMPLE DIRECTIONS of our ancestors.”
Shortly before midnight, a crowd began to gather. No one quite knew whether it should be a time of mourning or a time of celebration. Several iPhones of crowd members were set to alarm at 12:01am. Glen Farris could be seen ascending the Hickory hill toward the site and we all awaited his wisdom. Here’s a clip of what you missed…
As the City Council member who represents the district where this capsule resides, I spoke next, accepting partial responsibility for the failure to execute the opening of the capsule. But I then offered hope to those in attendance…
While we observe this day of failure, like so many failures that we have witnessed in our day and throughout history, we are now presented with an opportunity. We now have the opportunity to ensure that this capsule remains forever unopened so as to give every visitor to Denton, every child of our city, and future generations the chance to visit this site of the unopened capsule. To witness its dates, to know that the proper time has come and gone, and to always gather here every subsequent September 12 to celebrate and commemorate the failure of its opening. A holiday has been birthed out of the mourning of tragedy.”
There is something important to understand about cities here. Despite our best efforts at planning, development, and the creation of city amenities, the soul of a city is more often composed of a collection of beautiful little accidents like this one.
Mark your calendars for September 12, 2013. And if you see Mr. Farris around the square today, stop and thank him for his service to our city.