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IOOF time capsule opened;Items on display at Manteca Bedquarters
time capsule open

The long wait was worth it.

The time capsule of the International Order of Odd Fellows dating back to 1913 was finally extracted from the granite cornerstone of the Manteca Bedquarters building in downtown Manteca on early Thursday evening.

No one was more excited and relieved than Ron Cruz, who spent the better part of the past two days, working tirelessly in his pursuit to extract the metal box encased in the 11-by-17-by-12- inch cornerstone of the 107-year-old building.

"I can finally get a good night sleep," he later said.

But before that, he and a small group consisting of Janet Fiore and Steve Lewis, who is one of the owners of the two-story building that was once the IOOF lodge on Yosemite Avenue near Main Street, were eager to see the contents in the time capsule.

It was Fiore who came across this discovery upon online research of an obit in connection with the East Union Cemetery. She got a hold of Cruz, who knew the owner of the building Lewis.

The latter said it was worth the trouble of tearing up a small portion of his building in order to get to the time capsule.

Lewis was thrilled with the findings -- many of the contents were in superb condition outside of a few light burn mark from possibly a fire to the building some 60 years ago (the building was remodeled shortly after, Lewis heard from a previous owner).

Included were the following items:

*A copy of the Manteca Enterprise newspaper dated June 27, 1913.

*A copy of the Irrigation Bulletin dated the same day.  Both the Irrigation Bulletin and Manteca Enterprise were merged eventually as the Manteca Bulletin.

*A South San Joaquin Irrigation District letterhead on an envelope with a list of board members, officers, and members of the Engineering Department employed in the design and construction of the Supply and Distribution Systems.

*An IOOF booklet of the "Grand Master's Visitation Districts and Year of Visit, 1913 to 1916 Inclusive."

*Manteca IOOF #425 Lodge Hall information booklet dated June 28, 1913.

*Photographs of Manteca from back then taken by H. Huff Construction.

*Miscellaneous quality black and white pictures of Manteca by Commercial Photographs of San Francisco.

"I'm amazed it was all there," said Lewis, who has worked in the building for the past 23 years but served as one of its owners since 2011.

Cruz and Bill Buffington began the process of cutting, sawing and chiseling around the cornerstone with the IOOF logo of the three rings and the year “1913” inscribed on Thursday.

After encountering several obstacles, they opted to cut through the side of the brick and concrete pillar, lopping off sections at a time around the cornerstone.

Cruz resumed work the next day, using a demolition tool rented from Modesto. He had to make a return trip after the first one proved faulty.

Shortly before 5 p.m., he finally cleared enough room through the cuttings to get to the time capsule. For that, Fiore had the honors to extracting the box from its holding spot of the past 107 years.

"I'm totally excited, especially since I love for history," she said.

The time capsule contents will be available for viewing at Manteca Bedquarters before being forwarded to the Manteca Historical Society, Fiore added.