Salvation Army digs for treasure

Time capsule buried 25 years ago can't be found
Jun. 18, 2013 @ 12:13 AM

Who’s up for a buried treasure hunt?
And how good is your memory?
A yellowed clip from the High Point Enterprise dated June 7, 1988, reads: “Twenty-five years from now, someone is going to uncover a vault buried on Cloverleaf Street and open it to see the history of the High Point Salvation Army.”
Well, not so fast.
That vault, which served as a time capsule, will be opened only if somebody can find it.
So far, Salvation Army Maj. James Rickard and volunteers have spent hours digging approximately 10 holes with a shovel, drilling more than a dozen holes with a large auger and probing the ground with a metal detector.
Nothing.
“The problem is, memories fade,” said Rickard, who has led the High Point Salvation Army for just a year. “I’ve had people standing out there. I had a fella who goes to our church  saying, ‘It was there; it was there. I was standing right here (25 years ago), major. I promise you. It’s right there.’
“Well, we’ve about dug to China. We’ve dug down about 4 feet.”
The time capsule was buried at noon on June 7, 1988, in front of the Salvation Army building at 121 SW Cloverleaf, to commemorate the group’s 75th anniversary. It contained memorabilia from the Salvation Army of High Point’s first 75 years, and the intent was to open it on the 100th anniversary in 2013.
Technically, that 100th anniversary fell on April 15, but the celebration this year will be held Sunday and Monday.
And Rickard sure would like to have that capsule for the 100th anniversary bash.
According to the old Enterprise clipping, the capsule contains letters from President Ronald Regan, N.C. Gov. James Martin and U.S. Congressman Howard Coble; all of the newspaper clippings on the Salvation Army in High Point from 1913 to 1988; a hat belonging to Brigadier William A. Browning, father of the commanding officer in 1988, Douglas Browning; and other artifacts and memorabilia.
According to the clipping, the vault was donated by Imperial Vault Co. in King, and Rickard even has contacted the company in hopes somebody there would remember where it was buried. No luck.
He’s considered asking N.C. State University if it has ground-penetrating radar they might use here. He’s also thinking of digging up the entire yard with an excavator, but he doesn’t want to make a mess before the upcoming events, when dignitaries will come to High Point for the centennial celebration. If all else fails, he still may use the excavator, but only after the celebration.
“It’s kinda gotten to be frustrating and also a little humorous,” Rickard said. “It’s like, wow, where is that thing?”
One thing’s for sure, though.
“Noooo, we won’t rebury it,” Rickard said. “If we can find it, we’re not burying it again. We’ll put (the contents) in a display case.”

vknopfler@hpe.com / 888-3601  

Anyone with specific information on where the Salvation Army time capsule was buried may call 881-5400.