Thursday, November 6, 2014

WISHING WELLS, MONUMENTS & TIME CAPSULES



On the evening of August 6, 2013 the past and present collided at the Farmers Club Monument at Library Park, when a motorist jumped the curb and crashed into the structure. The following morning, only a crumble of stone and a fascinating Monrovia mystery remained. In subsequent weeks, the accident brought to light exactly how important this community landmark had become in its 100 plus year history, and even City Hall, in a wistful moment of municipal remembrance, rechristened the monument as "The Monrovia Wishing Well." What wasn't brought to light, though, were the whereabouts of the time capsule that had been placed by Farmers Club members over a century ago.  

A time capsule in the Farmers Club monument, you ask?

Indeed, members of the agricultural club built and dedicated the fountain monument in 1909 to much civic fanfare.  On the November dedication day, they buried a time capsule for future Monrovians that included copies of the Monrovia Messenger (October 9, 1909), Monrovia News (October 15, 1909) and the Los Angeles Times (November 1, 1909) newspapers.  The club members also included a letter addressed "To Posterity." 

The contents of the letter, in a modest way, reads: Those who had most to do with the building of this fountain hope that if the contents of this box is ever to light it will be so far in the future that the names of all having in any way to do with it will have been forgotten. It is dedicated by the people and for the people. May it outlast the everlasting hills that tower above it. Monrovia, California, November one, Nineteen hundred and nine. (Monrovia Daily News).

Where does this time capsule, its letters and documents reside? When the question was posed to City Historian Steve Baker, even he was stumped by its whereabouts.  Presently, the capsule remains elusive. Was it removed long before the traffic collision in 2013? Is it still buried within the monument? Though we can all rejoice now that Farmers

Club monument is being reconstructed, the historical mystery remains. 

Speaking of the reconstruction, the remaining pieces of tile and stone were removed by the Public Works Department and stored while awaiting a stone mason to piece the structure back together. Bill Goss was selected as the contractor for the site. The stones have been cleaned so upon reassembly the parts would appear whole. Only one stone needed to be fabricated to complete the base. Stainless steel threaded anchor rods were embedded to securely attach the roof. The original structure relied on its own weight to hold it down.

This project is supported by the City of Monrovia and the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG) who have pledged to provide the wood framing and installation of the roof to match the original structure. The 80 missing roof tiles are being provided by Architectural Detail in Pasadena.

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