Voices from the Past - The Time Capsule

The time capsule from the 1970 sesquicentennial was unearthed from its burial place prior to the demolition of City Hall and taken to the Service Center. The capsule was a stainless-steel tube, approximately 48 inches high and 18 inches in diameter and was placed inside a concrete vault. Despite the lid being tightly fastened and no apparent means for water intrusion, most of the contents were wet and there was an accumulation of water at the bottom, likely from condensation. Due to the moisture, many of the items were dirty, rusted, and generally in poor condition; however, many items did survive.

The contents included many pieces of news media, budgets, audits, letters, coins, photos, etc. Staff has worked diligently to save as many items as possible from the time capsule and plan to bring forward different pieces for recognition and display these items to the Council and public over the next several months


 Among the items restored were a cassette and reel-to-reel tapes that have been transferred to mp3 format.

KTOD Interviews

Over several months, Ray Allen with KTOD Radio hosted interviews with various individuals, who were involved in the Centennial celebration.  They include Roy Woods and Roy Rogero, owners of The Rockport Pilot; Mayor Delmar R. Hiller; Major Don Meek, who headed the parade operations; James Sorenson, president of First National Bank of Rockport and Chairman of the Centennial Committee; and David H. Crooks, chairman of the Centennial PR Committee.

Bustles to Bikinis

The 1970 pageant depicting Rockport’s history in five acts.  More than 300 residents participated in the show.

Bustles to Bikinis Tickets

Delivering a Message from 50 Years Ago


A letter, along with other items, were left by J.W. Harden and his wife, Agnes Anton “Tony” Adamson Harden to their son Adam Jay Harden.  Click here to view the entire letter.

Interestingly, Agnes (Tony) Harden served the citizens of Aransas County for more than 26 years. She served on the City Council for eight years, was the first woman to serve as the City of Rockport Council, Mayor Pro Tem, was the first District Clerk for Aransas County, Texas (1972-1990), was the first woman to serve as County Judge for Aransas County (1991-1998), was a member of the Rockport Business & Professional Women for over 25 years, and was awarded the Road Hand Award in 1998 by the Texas Department of Transportation for helping to develop Highway 35 relief route (By-Pass). The Harden’s were a wonderful part of the history of Rockport and Aransas County.  

Adam Harden was presented with the items his family left for him at the June 23rd Council Meeting to receive the items his family left for him IMG_0354

Jacqueline “Jackie” Ann Plummer Hattenbach receives a ring she placed in the time capsule 50 years ago.  Interestingly, this was done before she became an employee of the City of Rockpport having spent almost 30 years within the Parks and Recreation Department.  


Judge Phillip Baldwin left letters and photographs for his daughters Bonnie Nava, Barbara Harder, Betty Williams and Becky Merritt (not pictured).  To view the items, click here

Baldwin photo1024_1

Marsha Brundrett and her family hold up items that were placed in the time capsule by her parents William and Betty Mitchell.  To view the items, click here.

From William Mitchell - Revised copy_11024_3

Brothers John and Bobby Jackson and their cousin Molly Jackson McConville (22 cousins in all) review some photographs that were recovered from the Centennial time capsule.  Additionally, Bobby brought his own copy of the Centennial flag to share with Council at a meeting on October 27th, as the one placed in the capsule was destroyed.



From: Mr. and Mrs. Fred (Inez) Bracht   To: Fred, Jr., Mary Jo, James, Alan, Karen

Although the immediate family members of Fred and Inez Bracht have passed on, Susie Bracht Black, the fifth generations of Brachts in Rockport) was able to meet with Mayor Rios to receive a letter addressed to her father and his siblings.

Bracht 1

From: Sarah Belle Smith To: Rockport Fire Department Auxiliary or the Rockport Fire Department

Sarah Belle Smith left a note for the future Auxiliary or Fire Department so they would know someone thought of them 50 years ago.  Accepting the letter are Gillian Cox and Roy Laird of the Rockport Volunteer Fire Department.  After the presentation it was learned that Ms. Smith's great  nephew, Gary Smith, is currently a member of the RVFD. 

Sara Belle Smith RVFD 2

Sara Belle Smith RVFD 1

Sara Belle Smith RVFD 3

Due to a lot of the envelopes and paper items being damaged beyond repair with water/sweat from within the time capsule, we are not sure where all of the coins came from or who may have placed them in the time capsule.  Some of them are very interesting, including a 1912 Barber half dollar, 1893 Barber quarter, 1941 Mercury dime, and 1912 Liberty Head nickle.


Also within the time capsule were the Centennial glass mug and plate.  The plate includes artistic depictions of the following historical markers:

  • The Big Tree – Lamar 2,000 Years Old
  • Old Court House 1889
  • Del Mar Hotel Formerly Aransas Hotel 1889
  • Fulton Harbor and Meat Packing Plan 1875
  • Austin Street 1900
  • Mathis House 1867
  • Rockport Harbor and Dance Pavilion 1910
  • Fulton Mansion 1872

Below are pages of some of the items presented at the July 28th council meeting.  To view the full packet, click  here.

Graduation Invitation

School paper

Budget page 4

August 11 -  List of items presented at City Council Meeting. (PDF link below)

Exhibit A           Rockport Audit for FY ending September 30, 1969

Exhibit B            Aransas County Audit for FY ending December 31, 1969

Exhibit C            Historical Booklet of the last 100 years of Aransas County and the City of Rockport

Exhibit D           Rockport Comprehensive Plan

Exhibit E            Aransas County Tax Records (Only a few pages are shown of the more than 2 inches of pages provided.  And it looks as though some were damaged by fire prior to being damaged by dampness within the time capsule.)

August 11 Materials

August 25 - List of Items presented at City Council Meeting.  (PDF Link below)

August 251024_3August 251024_7

The accompanying exhibits listed below are documents showing ways in which City and County engaged the public in advance to purchase “shares” to help fund the event as well as prepare wardrobe and grow facial hair to be engaged within the event. 

Exhibit A Certificates of Shares 

Exhibit B Proclamation, Charter, and Certificates for the Centennial Belles 

Exhibit C Proclamation, Charter, and Certificates for the Jolly Rogers 

August 25 Materials

September 8 Presentation of Materials click here for PDF

With the 7th presentation of items for the time capsule we are looking at some more fun items from the 100th celebration. The buried treasure had clues for the people who bought the maps and allowed the public to have fun searching for the “gold.” Over 250 citizens were involved in the “Bustles to Bikinis” production, which included a few entire families. An audio recording of the event is available above.

Exhibit A Maps of Gold

Exhibit B Tickets to the “Bustles to Bikinis” Production Bustles to Bikinis Tickets

Exhibit C “Bustles to Bikinis” Rehearsal Schedule and Script

Exhibit D List of candidates and winners of the Centennial Queen and Princesses

Queen and Princesses

November 10, 2020 - The City of Rockport is not the only entity celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year,  The Rockport Masonic Lodge #323 was chartered on June 18, 1870.  Fifth years ago, members of the Lodge included materials in the time capsule, which were delivered to current members by the Mayor and City Manager. Photos courtesy of The Rockport Pilot.

Masonic Lodge 2Masonic Lodge 1a

Texas History Stories from Bullock Museum