SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. — Why was a copy of the Aug. 30, 1932, issue of The Bisbee Daily Review in the container?
Why weren't there other items inside the heavy tube?
Was it even a time capsule?
The answer is — well the answers may never be known.
It was about a year ago when Hubert Polo Rodriguez, who was helping to clean out a home in Old Bisbee, came upon the container in the backyard.
Saying he doesn't remember the address of the home or the name of the elderly woman who lived in it until she died, Rodriguez said he and others from Verhelst Recovery House were assisting the woman's family in cleaning up the house and property.
The family was donating the furniture in the house to the Verhelst House to sell the items to help the facility which supports recovering addicts.
He was working in the backyard, cleaning up the area, when he noticed some wires sticking out of the ground.
Pulling on the wires was fruitless, because they would not come out.
So, Rodriguez dug up the ground until he struck the metal container.
Opening it, Rodriguez and others saw the feathers and the newspaper and nothing else.
"I was hoping it would have something valuable in it, but it didn't," he said.
The value was to whoever put the items in and buried the cylinder.
Asking a family member and one of the clean-up bosses if he could keep the container and its contents and told yes, Rodriguez brought it to the Herald/Review Wednesday to see if anyone might shed light on a mystery, which has become personal to him.
The three feathers, of different sizes, all have brown as the main color.
"I don't know what kind of bird they're from," he said.
The six pages of the paper, which have yellowed and have to be carefully turned — the container was well-sealed and with no evidence of water damage to the paper was evident — probably held some significance to the person who placed the items in the metal container and eventually buried the device.
The front page was full of local, state, nation and international news.
One headline was: Huachuca Road Construction To Be Started In The Near Future, following the guidelines of every word in a headline being capitalized.
It was about a $30,000 federal project to build a road into an area of the Huachuca Mountains to open it as a park.
With the nation still suffering through the Great Depression, the article noted local unemployed people would be hired to do the work, kind of like Franklin Delano Roosevelt stimulus programs he created when he became president in 1933.
Nationally, a nonstop air race from New York to California saw the winner do it in a little more than 11 hours, zipping along at 245 mph, beating out Maj. Jimmy Doolittle, who a little less than 10 years later, led 16 Army Air Force B-25s off the deck of the USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo and other cities in Japan, as proof the nation which bombed Pearl Harbor in late 1941 was not immune from future air attacks.
Internationally, German leader Franz von Papen informed Hitler his proposal to lead the nation was too late. By 1933, von Papen was proved wrong, as Hitler became chancellor, leading Nazi Germany into the brutal conquest of much of Europe before being defeated in 1945.
More locally, a Nogales, Sonora, Mexico police officer was arrested for helping Chinese illegal immigrants enter the United States, with another article noting 158 Chinese apprehended in Arizona were being taken to San Francisco to be deported back to China.
As this year, American politics were news items in the Aug. 30, 1932, issue of the Review.
Harlow Akers was running for the U.S. Senate from Arizona and his platforms were prohibition and unemployment.
For those interested in sports, an article stated Babe Ruth was expected to play in his 10th World Series.
Those wanting another form of relaxation they could take in a double feature of films at The Lyric in Bisbee, which was showing "The Public Enemy," starring James Cagney; and "The Careless Lady," with Joan Bennett.
The Southern Pacific Railroad announced special round-trip fare for the Labor Day weekend, with people being able to travel from southern Arizona to Tucson for $2.50 or as far away as San Francisco for $23.60.
For Rodriguez, who is in his 50s, his time capsule is a look backwards while knowing many of the items published nearly eight decades ago are similar to today, just names, places and costs have changed, but not necessarily major issues which also now includes unemployment, people hungry for power and an election year.
So, he said he may add items to the container and perhaps some decades in the future someone may look into it and see what was happening in the 21st century.
"My wife wants to bury it again," Rodriguez said.
And if he keeps the newspaper from 1932 in it, those 80 years from now may not see that much of a change from the 20th and 21st centuries when it is reopened late this century or early in the 22nd.
Information from: Sierra Vista Herald, http://www.svherald.com