In 1907, a whirlwind campaign raised enough money to begin construction of a building for the Bowling Green branch of the YMCA. Workers broke ground at 1044 State Street in June 1908, and in September about 1,000 spectators attended the cornerstone laying. As part of the ceremony, which included speeches, a military band and choral performances, officials placed a time capsule in the cornerstone.
The tin box remained there until 1985 when a fire in the building, then being used as a hotel, rendered it unfit for occupancy. During demolition, local attorney Ray Buckberry ensured that the time capsule was salvaged and its contents sent to WKU’s Special Collections Library.
Included in the time capsule were documents and memorabilia relating to the Bowling Green YMCA and the building campaign: donor lists, membership cards (including a 25-cent punch card good for 20 towels), pledge forms, news clippings, the cornerstone ceremony program, photos, and a small Bible bearing the signatures of prominent citizens involved in the building effort.
Click here to download a finding aid for this Bowling Green YMCA collection. For other collections at WKU’s Special Collections Library relating to local clubs and organizations, search TopScholar and KenCat.