Time capsule from Tacoma Dome holds no disco and no Twinkies

Nobody was sure quite what to expect Saturday when Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland eased the lid off the time capsule tucked away in the Tacoma Dome for the past 30 years.

Expectations were high, though, and the ceremony was grand.

A bagpiper from the Tacoma Fire Department led a procession of city dignitaries to the front of the Dome shortly after 9 a.m. and, as a contingent of Masons in full regalia stood by, workers chiseled out the polished granite cornerstone that’s held the capsule in place since it was deposited Oct. 2, 1982.

After a few introductory remarks, Strickland lifted the lid of the stainless steel box to reveal a collection that seemed designed to disappoint: a handful of Masons’ pins, a bound history of the Rotary Club and a couple of snapshots of the Dome groundbreaking ceremony. Beneath them were two yellowed newspaper clippings and a tape of a KCPQ newscast about the Dome.

No Gov. Dixy Lee Ray campaign buttons. No brick-size cellphones. No 8-track tape cartridges with disco music.

Kim Bedier, the city’s director of public assembly facilities, was joking when she said it, but there seemed to be a note of real disappointment in her voice. “No Twinkies?” she asked.

Saturday’s ceremony was the grand finale of the Dome’s 30th Anniversary year celebrations. The Dome opened April 21, 1983.

“It’s pretty hard to imagine Tacoma without the Tacoma Dome,” Strickland told about 50 people gathered for the occasion. “When you think about Tacoma you think about a few special things. You think about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and you think about the Tacoma Dome.”

A subtheme throughout the 30th year Dome events has been the need for upgrading the facility’s dated interior.

Voters have twice failed to pass bond measures to fund a makeover of the landmark facility.

As for the time capsule, city officials are assembling a new collection of items to be deposited back into the vault for another 30 years or so.

If you have ideas, contact Bedier. She said she’d be glad to hear them. The city’s general information line is 253-591-5000.

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693