By Kevin Kelley
It’s doubtful that Westlake residents of 1911 could have imagined what life a century later would be like, especially with such technological advances as radio, television, computers and the Internet.
It’s equally as likely that the Westlake of 2111 will feature many advancements that we can’t envision.
But Westlakers of 100 years from now will have some glimpse of what life was like in 2011 thanks to Boy Scout Evan Kelemen, who, along with the Westlake Historical Society, prepared a time capsule that will be buried for a century.
The public had a chance to see many of the items that will be placed in the capsule during a program Nov. 17 at City Hall.
The capsule will be buried in the spring, most likely at Evergreen Cemetery on Center Ridge Road, or possibly near the bicentennial clock at City Hall.
Kelemen became involved in the time capsule project about a year ago when he contacted Lynn Brady, a former Planning Department employee who was active in organizing bicentennial observances. He asked her about possible projects he could work on to fulfill the requirements to obtain his Eagle Scout badge.
“I thought this was the most interesting one,” he said.
He has worked on the time capsule with Westlake Historical Society President Lysa Stanton about once a week in recent months.
Stanton praised Kelemen’s dedication to the project. “He really put everything into it,” she told West Life. She added that her organization is currently working with four other Eagle Scout candidates on other projects.
The Westlake High School junior said he hopes that the time capsule will help Westlakers in 100 years understand what life was like for today’s residents.
“Together we found what made Westlake Westlake,” he said. “And we tried to pick things that everyday Westlake people would have because we found out that’s what would be best in a time capsule.”
While doing research on the Smithsonian Institute’s website, he came across an article stating that old toothbrushes were among the best items yielded by time capsules.
“They said that was one of the most valuable things that they ever found in a time capsule,” Kelemen said. “So we tried to pick things like that, too.”
Items to go in the time capsule include coins, marbles, paper clips, pencils, a deck of cards, a library card, a credit card and an Ethernet cable. Also included were menus from two Westlake restaurants — Original Dave’s Cosmic Subs and Si Senor Mexican restaurant.
Event programs and mementos related to this year’s bicentennial celebrations are also going in the time capsule. Newspaper clippings from West Life will also be included.
A letter written by Mayor Dennis Clough to the city’s future residents via the time capsule describes 2011 as a year of great celebration about the city’s bicentennial.
“Enjoy the history you will uncover as you explore the many items that were buried in this time capsule to document our bicentennial and give future generations a glimpse of Westlake and its people in 2011,” the current mayor wrote.
Clough noted that Boy Scouts who complete Eagle Scout projects have been a strong force in the community over the years. The mayor said only 2 to 3 percent of those involved in scouting achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
“I think this is a great way to commemorate many of the activities that have gone on and all that we’ve learned that we didn’t know many years ago because there’s been a lot of additional research done this year,” the mayor said at the Nov. 17 event.