Thursday, September 28, 2000

City to open time capsule

Community leaders to be inducted into hall of fame

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FOREST PARK — When this community was dedicated in 1956, there were 110 houses and two streets and a plaque in a little park at a corner to proclaim it all.

        The plaque reads: “History affords ample recognition to statesmen, soldiers and inventors whose leadership and creativeness helped build America. But little acclaim has been given to wage earner and homemaker — the families of the American home. They are America. For them Forest Park, Ohio is planned and gratefully dedicated.”

[photo] Steve Gallenstein (left), Mel Williams (center) and Jim Lawler remove Forest Park's time capsule.
(Enquirer photo)
| ZOOM |
        The community has grown to more than 20,000 residents — Hamilton County's third largest city behind Cincinnati and Norwood. With the community vision achieved, today at 6:30 p.m. a time capsule — sealed in concrete in a post next to the plaque 44 years ago — will be opened.

        Mel Williams was there in Founder's Park on Sept. 28, 1956, with a small group of other new homeowners. He still lives in the same house on Carnegie Drive.

        He will return to the park, tucked in a thicket at the corner of Sharon and Waycross roads, to watch the time capsule — a sealed pickle barrel — be pried open.

        City officials already have inspected the capsule to be certain its contents are intact and undamaged by the elements. Officials have prepared a new time capsule to replace the old one and to be opened in 2025.

        Mr. Williams remembers the 1956 dedication day.

        “This wasn't even called Sharon Road. It was Cameron Road back then. This was all a part of Springfield Township then. Forest Park became a village in 1961 and a city in 1968. But it was planned. The whole city was planned,” Mr. Williams said.

        ""Miss America 1957 (Marian Ann McKnight) was here. This was a place where two (developed) streets were surrounded by 10,000 acres of (open) land. There were no shopping centers. There were no schools — the schools were in Greenhills,” Mr. Williams said.

        “The vision,” said Amber Morris, the city's recreation director who is coordinating today's “Back in Time” event, “was a concept being done by the Warner-Kanter Corp. to have a community with all needed amenities close to every residential area.”

        Every local daily newspaper covered the dedication — The Enquirer, The Cincinnati Post and the old Cincinnati Times-Star, she said. They are in the capsule. This edition will find a place in the new one.

        The capsule being opened today contains the newspapers, a film titled “Model City USA,” master plans and brochures about the planned city, and a letter from developer Marvin L. Warner of Warner-Kanter companies.

        After the capsule is removed, it will be taken to the city's Activity Center across Waycross Road from the park where mementos, pictures, and documents from the city's past will be on display.

        City Councilman Jim Lawler, president of the city's historical society, will introduce guest speakers John Lesick, Ray Hummel and Loraine Blackburn, who will discuss early political and social life in the city, and the community's early schools. John E. Kanter and Marvin Warner Jr., sons of the community's developers, are expected.

        The first inductees into the newly created City of Forest Park Civic Hall of Fame will be recognized. Ms. Morris said those expected to attend are Mr. Williams; Fred Lamb; Loretta Dixon for her late husband, Charles Dixon; Dee Shaffer for her late husband, Edwin Shaffer; Alfred Mangels; Wallace Blackburn; and William Griffith. Inductee Alex Byrnside is unable to attend.

        Other deceased inductees are Charles Dawson, Herbert Taylor, Thomas Bonta and Anthony Ratermann. Mr. Williams said the whereabouts of three other inductees could not be determined: Joseph Lohr, Ralph Jacobson and Kristen Heiberg.

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