MONONGAHELA – Monongahela was fascinated with the 1969 moon landing, based on the initial contents of a time capsule that was buried the same year when the city marked its bicentennial.

A musty Time magazine and small stack of Pittsburgh newspapers all bearing photos and headlines celebrating the first humans on the moon were atop items that were sealed 50 years ago in a copper box and buried in the city’s Chess Park.

“This is sacred ground here,” Monongahela businessman Don DeVore said before the capsule was unearthed Thursday to kick off the city’s four-day, 250th birthday celebration.

“I think it’s fantastic. Everything is preserved,” said DeVore, whose father, George, was among those who sealed the capsule 50 years ago. The DeVore family was among the first settlers in the Monongahela area.

The box was sealed inside a steel drum and buried under a thick slab of concrete, and the site was topped with a tombstone-like marker.

It took four Monongahela street department workers using shovels, heavy equipment and a grinder to free the capsule in front of a large, eager crowd.

The unsealing of the capsule was among the “most-anticipated” events of the birthday celebration, said Laura Magone, who was among the organizers of the party.

“We are so excited about the next four days,” said Magone, president of Monongahela Area Historical Society.

Among the other items pulled from the box were a sign promoting Monongahela’s community day at Kennywood and a 1968 Boy Scout membership card.

The society was still inventorying the items in the box Thursday afternoon. They will be on display through the weekend at the society’s new headquarters in the Longwell House at 711 W. Main St.

There is a jam-packed schedule of events in Monongahela that includes a performance by the Washington Symphony Orchestra with a laser light show at 7 p.m. today at the Noble J. Dick Aquatorium at the Second Street ramp to the Monongahela River.

The grand parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday on West Main Street, and a lighted parade and fireworks will be held at the aquatorium following a 7 p.m. performance by the Gary Racan & Studio E. Band.

The society at 1 p.m. Sunday will attempt to establish a Guinness World Record by creating the world’s largest wedding cookie table, with actual weddings in Chess Park.

Coinciding with the cookie table event, the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh will provide fun science decorations with dry ice, and staff members will talk about the chemistry behind creating a cookie table.

For the complete list of events, visit

Staff Writer

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley.

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