One hundred years ago, Colorado Gov. John Shafroth, a group of University of Colorado dignitaries and leading Boulder citizens stood on a barren hillside overlooking the town and laid the cornerstone for what would become the Boulder area's premier performing arts venue.
On Oct. 8, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano will reveal the contents of a time capsule placed in that cornerstone exactly 100 years earlier as Macky Auditorium celebrates its 100th anniversary. The unveiling, free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. in the Macky Auditorium gallery.
The time capsule, a bronze box holding mementoes and artifacts of the era, was unearthed and opened earlier this month in a small commemorative event attended by campus officials and representatives of the Boulder Masonic Lodge.
The Boulder Masons oversaw the laying of the cornerstone and placing of the time capsule 100 years ago. Carefully conserved by CU Heritage Center professionals, the capsule's contents will provide an engaging look at the university, the city and the state a century ago.
"We knew that a time capsule had been placed during the cornerstone ceremony through descriptions in the files of the Boulder Masons and newspaper reports of the time," said Alan Cass, former director of Macky Auditorium and a member of the team that led the search for the historical box. "However, none of these reports noted where the time capsule was actually located.
"We had an excellent team, including staff from CU's Facilities Management department, and after an extended search and a lot of digging, we finally found the capsule wedged inside the cornerstone, accessible only from underneath," Cass said.
The auditorium is the legacy of a bequest from Andrew Macky, one of the area's original settlers and one of the fledgling town's leading bankers.
Throughout its history, Macky Auditorium has played a central role in campus life, with its 2,600-seat auditorium serving as a gathering point for the campus community. Over the years, it has also housed the offices of the CU President, the Dean of Students, the Department of Journalism, the Registrar, the Book Store and Admissions.
The home of the Artist Series since 1937, the stage at Macky has remained a cultural cornerstone for the campus. Dignitaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard M. Nixon and the Dalai Lama have spoken from its stage, as well as performing luminaries such as Neil Young, Tori Amos and George Carlin.