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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
4:32 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Centennial events highlight state's biggest party locally

Following through on a tradition that started in 1962, the City of Prescott will reveal the contents of a 50-year-old time capsule on the stage of the Elks Opera House on Tuesday.

The opening of the time capsule will be the main feature of the city's Statehood Day event at the Elks, which will run from 1 to 2:10 p.m.

City officials of 1962 were thinking ahead to the state's centennial when they chose a group of elementary students to shepherd the time capsule through the decades. Called the "Centennians," the group was responsible for making sure that the time capsule would be opened on Feb. 14, 2012.

The group of 6- and 7-year-olds was on hand in October 1962 when the city broke ground on its new city hall building at the corner of Cortez and Goodwin streets. About a half-dozen of the original Centennians are expected to re-assemble on Tuesday to handle the opening of the time capsule.

While no one knows for sure what the time capsule will reveal, news accounts from the time referred to a transistor radio, a "twist" record and artwork from local schoolchildren.

Also featured at next week's Statehood Day event will be the introduction of the new group of elementary students - the Sesquicentennians - who will be responsible for the new time capsule that the city plans to place in the city hall cornerstone, to be opened on the state's 150th-year anniversary in 2062.

The Sesquicentennians group consists of 15 youngsters chosen through nominations and an essay contest. The Prescott City Council appointed the group in January, and the students will be on hand on Tuesday for the changing of the time-capsule guard.

Tuesday's event also will feature a performance by local students of a centennial song written by Yavapai College voice instructor Judith Clothier.

The event will conclude in time for the 2:14 p.m. statewide sounding of bells and sirens to mark Arizona's first 100 years.

The complimentary tickets for Tuesday's event became available this week and went quickly. City officials said no tickets were left by Wednesday afternoon.

IN OTHER STATEHOOD DAY NEWS:

• Montezuma Castle National Monument near Camp Verde is celebrating Statehood Day with a free program called "Why History Matters" Tuesday. From 1 to 2 p.m., three speakers will talk about Arizona's efforts to gain statehood, the significance of science and research to this region, and Verde Valley history. For more information, visit nps.gov/moca or call 928-567-3597.

• The Friends of the Agua Fria National Monument are celebrating Statehood Day on the monument Tuesday. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the site of an 1891 schoolhouse near Cordes Junction. For directions, visit aguafriafriends.org. The celebration features old-fashioned children's games and live music.

• Community members are invited to a ceremony and the burying of a time capsule signed and filled with items from Prescott Unified School District students. Prescott High School Principal Totsy McCraley and the PHS student council will hold a brief ceremony before the 5-foot-tall time capsule is buried at the rose circle in front of Prescott High School at 4 p.m. on Feb. 14. The time capsule will remain there until it is opened in 50 years.

• The Centennial festivities at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley on Feb. 14 will feature a gourmet dinner, entertainment by State Historian Marshall Trimble, singer Rex Allen Jr. and other country musicians, a fireworks display and unveiling of a mural.

Events start at 6 p.m. with the dinner and conclude with fireworks at 9 p.m.

• The Board of Supervisors will dedicate two "statehood trees," complete with commemorative plaques, on Feb. 14. The first will be at 9 a.m. at the Yavapai County Superior Court Building, 2840 N. Commonwealth Drive in Camp Verde. The second will be at 11 a.m. at the Yavapai County Courthouse, 120 South Cortez St., in Prescott.