Doreen Mowery, City Clerk for Carter Lake, spoke to the audience prior to sealing our city time capsule on May 30, 2009.
Welcome to our new City Hall and Police Station, and thank you for accepting our invitation to the ribbon cutting ceremony and time capsule placement.
I would like to thank Mayor Kramer, the City Council, and citizens of this community for providing such a wonderful work environment for your employees. And I would like to thank the department heads that worked so very hard on this project from its very inception until about 2 minutes ago. Thank you Ron Rothmeyer, Sherry Rydberg, Henry Hinkel and Shawn Kannedy. This building is an asset to the community and I hope it serves you well for many years to come.
When we started discussing placing a time capsule the first thing we had to decide was the date that we would want it to be opened. We thought what better date than at the sesquicentennial of the City. Many of you think that the year 2080 is too far away and that you won’t be here when the time capsule is opened. While that may be true, those of us who chose this date opted to leave a legacy for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. You and I know our history, we know our present and we are able to dream of the future. The purpose of this time capsule is to share our history, to share our present, and to help future citizens of Carter Lake understand their roots.
So what would we want our grandchildren’s grandchildren to know?
We would want them to know that on May 30th, 2009 we gathered together for a ribbon cutting and open house on our new City Hall and Police Station and that at that time we also placed this time capsule. The construction of this new facility had been planned for a very long time. The need for a larger facility was first discussed in the late 1990’s. At that time a larger facility was identified as a community need during the development of the “Comprehensive Plan”. The Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2006 and we broke ground on this project in the April 12, 2008. We moved into this lovely new facility on April 29, 2009. We would want them to know that government notoriously does not work fast, and sometimes good things just take time and money. The construction contract for this building was approximately $2.9 million dollars. The equipment, furniture, phones, and computers were an additional $1 million dollars.
Today we are gathered to celebrate our accomplishments, to remember our past, and to share hope for the future of the citizens of Carter Lake, Iowa.
I have some thoughts I would like to share with you and to leave for my grandchildren’s grandchildren.
If you are to believe the prognostications of Nostradamus, the Mayans, the Hopi or even Al Gore, you may believe that the placing of a time capsule that is to be opened in the year 2080 is an exercise in futility. There are many who believe that the stars will align just right on Dec. 21, 2012, and that the world as we know it is destined to come to a cataclysmic end. Fortunately, past experience has shown that very few prognostications are accurate. To look ahead years into the future is ambitious. I believe that it is important to preserve our history, our environment, and our world so that there will be hope for future generations. I cannot believe the world will come to a screeching halt on Dec. 21, 2012. It is important to envision a world where the possibility of doom and gloom do not become a reality. We must continue to work and strive for a brighter future and preserve our world so that our ancestors can live full productive lives.
Today it is important for us to reflect on our past, and Carter Lake, Iowa has a colorful past. From its very inception Carter Lake was “different”. The oxbow lake was created by a huge ice jam and flood in 1877. When the flood subsided, Iowa land had been left on the Nebraska side of the river. Over the years there was huge debate over the Iowa land that was deposited on the west side of the Missouri River. It would take a Supreme Court decision in 1892 to declare once and for all that Carter Lake was in fact, a part of the great State of Iowa.
The City of Carter Lake was incorporated in 1930. In our seventy nine years as a city, we have been served by only nine mayors and four city attorneys. The Mayors were Albert Schneider (1930-1932), L. P. Heeney (1932-1934), Wilson E. Mabrey (1934-1974), Gerald D. Waltrip (1974-1978 and 1986-1994), John D. Lesley (1978-1986), Leland Bill Blankenship (1994-1997), Wanda Rosenbaugh (1997-2002), Emil Hausner (2002-2006), and our current Mayor, Russell D. Kramer (2006 to current). Devere Watson, John Churchman, Mike O’Bradovich and Joe Thornton have been the only four gentlemen that have served as city attorneys.
City offices have been housed in three different buildings during the past seventy nine years. The first building was constructed by the WPA and was located at 626 Locust. That building now houses the Senior Center Meal Site. The second public facility was located on this very property. What used to be known as 950 Locust Street was gutted and remodeled as part of this new building. Today, the Police Department can be found in the old section of this building that was once City Hall. The new 950 Locust Street includes the footprint of the old building with 4,900 square feet, and an additional 13,000 square feet for the new council chambers and administrative offices.
In comparing Carter Lake’s past to its present, there are many notable changes. Gone are the days when Mayor Mabrey was the police officer, judge, jury, and court recorder. Our police department is currently staffed by a Chief, 8 full-time officers, 2 part-time officers, 6 reserve officers, and a secretary.
During the late 1930, and 1940s when gambling halls were legal in Iowa, the Chez Paree nightclub and casino operated openly in Carter Lake. However, gambling was not legal in Nebraska. During that time Carter Lake gained the reputation as one of the biggest gambling spots between Chicago and Reno. The State of Iowa still regulates casinos and as a consequence, there are none in Carter Lake. The Ponca Indian Tribe has proposed a casino and only time and the courts will determine if that is to be a part of our future.
In 1930 the President of the United States was Herbert Hoover. Today, Barack Obama is the first African American to serve as President of the United States.
In 1930 the Governor of Iowa was Daniel Turner. Today our State is served by Governor Chet Culver.
Locally, our first Mayor was Albert Schneider. Today our community is governed by Mayor Russell D. Kramer and five council members; Ed Aldmeyer, Joe Anderson, Ron Cumberledge, Tim Parker and Steve Wilbur. Our community is also served by a dedicated staff and numerous volunteers.
In the past council minutes were recorded by the written word. Recently we used a tape recorder for the audio portion and a VHS for the video portion. Minutes were transcribed onto a computer file. When we moved into the new building, meeting technology changed. Council meetings will now be recorded on a DVD and transcribed from a WAVE file. The Mayor, council and office staff have been outfitted with thin client computers. The programs and the data files are backed up nightly by the Pottawattamie County IT Department, who assure us they have multiple redundant off-site backups for disaster recovery. By the year 2080 I image that the business of the city will be recorded digitally in some format that uses voice recognition to transcribe the minutes.
Technology has materialized so much over the past 79 years. One can only imagine how archaic our ipods, garmins, laptops and cell phones will seem in 2080. We have come a long way from the radio, Rand McNally maps, typewriters, party lines, and huge main frame computers in very cold, air conditioned rooms that required the use of punch cards. We did survive Y2K without the world coming to a dead stand still. As a matter of fact today, I can twitter or blog with my friends or communicate through “My Space”, I can even use my cell phone to text you. Out grandkids can get guidance on the care of their”Webkinz” over the internet. We use a remote fob to open our car doors and a remote control to change our television station. Technology has done some amazing things for us.
In 1930 a chiffon dress cost $5.98, shoes were $2.88, and a coat would sell for $5.00. As I stand here today the dress I am wearing cost $58, the shoes $48, and I would not be able to purchase a coat for less than $50.00.
The papers from the 1930’s advertised that you could purchase an oil stove from Sears for $36.75 and a Frigidaire for $169.50. The electric flat top range for this building cost $459 and the refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser cost $854.
If you wanted to travel in 1930 you could ride the Burlington train route west to the greatest vacation spot, Glacier Park for $54.10 round trip. Today you could catch a plane to Butte Montana for $337 roundtrip. In 1930 a gallon of gas would cost about ten cents. Now, if you tack on an extra $2.25 you could get a gallon for $2.35. Lucky Strike cigarettes were 3 packs for $.43 and smoking was fashionable. Today you would pay $5.04 for one pack and smoking will kill you. If you wanted to eat in 1930 you could buy 8 pounds of bacon for 95 cents and a three pound loaf of bread for 10 cents. Today you could buy 1 pound of bacon for $2.98 and a 1 ½ pound of bread for $3.29.
In 1930 we were not at war. World War I ended in 1918 and World War II didn’t start until 1939. Today, nuclear proliferation always looms on the horizon and just this week North Korea tested nuclear bombs. The events of September 11, 2001 have forever changed our world. Today we are battling a war against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recession and economic turmoil are big headline news. The government has spent billions of dollars on economic bailouts. Banks and auto makers are struggling to survive. General Motors is on the verge of bankruptcy. The housing market is in turmoil.
But, my great great grandchildren should know that not everything is bad. Life in Carter Lake is pretty good. Our current population is 3,248 and there are over 1,100 homes and businesses in our community. In 2005 the City celebrated their 75th anniversary. Recently a City flag was designed by Rhonda Moraski and Sherry Rydberg. Services that can be found in Carter Lake include a golf course, a mini golf course, four hotels, restaurants, a hardware store, gas stations, parks, ball fields, VFW, Improvement Club, Optimists, a grade school, a steel manufacturer, some bars, and several churches to name a few. City services include Police, Animal Control, Library, Maintenance, Administration, Building Inspections, Resource Center, Urban Revitalization, Lake Projects, Senior Center and Volunteer Fire and Ambulance. A new grade school is going to be constructed starting this fall. A Veterans monument called “Reflections of Honor” will be constructed on this site within the next few months. We also have plans for a clock tower at the corner of 9th and Locust Street. And beginning this fall, we are undergoing a Locust Street streetscape project that should enhance the main thoroughfare to our community.
Life is bigger than Carter Lake. In 2008 the United States elected its 1st African American president. Barack Obama took office in Jan. 2009. In April 2009 Iowa passed a law permitting same sex marriages. We are one of only five states that have passed similar laws. The country is passionate about saving the environment. Locally we have received a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to complete Phase I and II petroleum assessments on Carter Lake Brownfields. We are actively working with the surrounding agencies to clean up and protect the lake. Iowa State University recently announced they are working towards recycling Styrofoam cups in gasoline as a method to increase its productivity. Electric cars are becoming a reality. Wind farms are abundant in Iowa. We are now second in the nation with the number of wind generators that have been built in recent years. Green buildings are becoming headline news and recycling in the norm.
Newspapers have proven to be an invaluable resource for looking at our past. When reading the papers from 1930 divorces were headline news. Today, 50% of marriages end in divorce and it is no longer headline news. In 1930 if an employer needed help they would advertise for a man or a woman. Discrimination is no longer legal. In 1930 the price of gold was $20.67 per ounce and the national debt was a little over $16 billion dollars. Today and ounce of gold would cost you $961.90 and the national debt is well over $11 trillion dollars. When this time capsule is opened, newspapers may be nothing more than a memory.
It is fun to take a walk down memory lane, and it is equally fun to celebrate our current success, but the real reward for me is to dream about the future and what it will hold for our community and its citizens and the grandchildren of my grandchildren.
It is my sincerest hope that Nostradamus, the Mayans, the Hopi, and Al Gore were wrong. I want there to be a huge sesquicentennial party in 2080 where the contents of this time capsule are viewed by our Carter Lake descendants. To them I would say “Happy Sesquicentennial!” I hope they have celebrated the United States’ 300th anniversary on July 4, 2076. Many of us in the crowd today can remember the 200th celebration in 1976. And if I may dare to prognosticate a little, my guess is that there will no longer be newspapers like the ones we have placed in the time capsule. Papers are becoming obsolete. There may not be near as many written books as there were in 2009. The digital age is quickly taking over that venue with the release of the Kindle. The coins that are in this capsule may be nothing more than historic relics. We have enclosed an envelope with what was dubbed a “forever” stamp. The U.S. Post Office has said that they would honor “forever” stamps forever – without paying any increase in postage. So, mail a letter on us, that is if snail mail still exists. Looking back at the changes that have occurred in the past seventy one years and knowing of the many changes that we have witnessed, it is hard to imagine what will transpire in the next seventy one years. In my lifetime I have seen television go from black and white with only 3 channels to HDTV on cable with access to hundreds of channels in any color imaginable. I doubt that in 1938 many people ever believed that we would put man on the moon, or that we would land a probe Mars. Zip lock bags, microwave ovens, and Styrofoam cups were a thing of the future. And who would have ever dreamed that all homes and businesses would have indoor plumbing?
While this new building seemed like nothing more than a fantasy a few years ago, seeds were planted and it became a reality. I hope when the citizens of 2080 look back they will find that we were successful in redesigning Locust Street, that we have built a new school with a recreation center, that senior housing and a grocery store were erected and the riverfront was developed. I hope that the citizens of 2080 will realize that the strength, the success, and beauty of this community is and always has been, its citizens. My hope is that they are still proud to be known as Iowans.
So today we dedicate this beautiful new building and set the time capsule. In doing so we have reflected upon our past, acknowledged our present, and dared to dream of a world much different from ours, a world that is beyond our imagination. The world in fact will be a much different place than what we know today.
To those precious great-great grandchildren of mine: I would request that you preserve a piece of our history as I have tried to do for you. Plant a seed and watch it grow. I hope that your life provides you with a lasting purpose and many outstanding successes.
In closing I would like to offer some borrowed words of advice to the future generations of Carter Lake:
Dr. Seuss said, “Kid, you’ll move mountains…Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
Forrest Gump would remind you that, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”
Lee Ann Womack would sing, “…When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Captain Kirk of the Star Trek Enterprise would instruct you to “Live long and prosper”.
And James Dean would advise you to, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”.
To the Carter Lake citizens of 2080, I want you to dream and play and live, and dance, climb mountains, eat chocolates and live long. May God bless you.
List of Contents:
Book of well wishes from 2009
Envelope with a “forever” stamp
Blank piece of letterhead
$1 bill, quarter, dime, nickel, penny
Lyrics to “I Hope You Dance”
City Audit – June 2008
Aerial view of City Hall under construction in 1978
Architectural drawings of the new City Hall/Police Department
May 2009 City Scape
City of Carter Lake Flag
Papillion Sanitation – trash and recycling information
First Quarter 2009- Ad Valorem – Pottawattamie Council Assessor News
Copy of Petition to hold election for incorporation from 1930
Minutes from the first city council meeting – July 7, 1930
Minutes from the April 20, 2009 city council meeting
An invitation to the Open House on May 30, 3009
An aerial photo taken of Carter Lake in 2001
Unified Land Development Ordinances adopted August 28, 2006
Comprehensive Plan dated August 28, 2006
CD with 2006 Municipal Code
List of wages for employees in 2008
Sponge Bob Square Pants whoopee cushion
Flier on the “Eagle” Project
Carter Lake Community Design Program information on Locust St.
Picture of Iowa Governor Chester J. Culver
Jan. 2, 2009 – Entertainment - Best & Worst of 2008
Dec. 29, 2008 – Time “Person of the Year”
April 1 edition of “City Weekly”
Dec. 31 – Jan 1, 2009 – USA Today
Jan. 1, 2009 – Daily Nonpareil
Jan. 1, 2009 – Omaha World Herald
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” – by Dr. Seuss
JC Penney catalog from Spring & Summer 2009
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 2012” – by Synthia Andrews and Colin Andrews
“The Epic Tale of a Mountain Man” – by David Michael Zink – mason that worked on City Hall
“Star Trek” – by Kevin Ryan
CD – Bruce Springsteen – “Secret Garden & Thunder Road”
Pottawattamie County emergency magnet
Sticker from Resource Center – Building a Community on Pride and Honor and Respect
Coffee Cup – Built on Pride, Honor and Respect
“I Heart CL” sticker
Carter Lake Flag – magnet
Carter Lake Flag – key chain
Celebrating 75 years magnet
Celebrating 75 years ink pen
75 year t-shirt
Carter Lake Insider Newsletter
Key fob for a car door
Pop Secret microwave popcorn
EPA – Brownfield information on an oatmeal bar
Police cloth shirt badge
Team rosters for softball, baseball, and soccer
2008 tournament t-shirt
Souvenir cup from parks concession stand
Baseball and a softball
EPA water bottle
Plastic grocery bag
Thomas the Train
3 Hot Wheels
Webkinz Puppy Dog
DVD with Regular City Council Meeting – Monday, May 18, 2009 – 7:00 PM
VHS tape of Regular City Council Meeting – Monday June 18, 2007
Iowa DOT Map
List of City Volunteers as of October 2008
Email from the Letter from the Governor’s Office
Items submitted by the Carter Lake Improvement Club:
Pictures from a Poker Run
T-Shirt from a Poker Run
April 2009 newsletter
List of Board Members for 2009
Copy of Club Rules
Shuffle Board and Dart Scores
Picture of the Club from 1940s
Information pamphlets from the Carter Lake Preservation Society
Heart shaped stone
History of Carter Lake created by Spencer Chaplin – Mayor Russ Kramer’s grandson