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25-Year-Old Time Capsule Found During Renovations at Ithaca Airport

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(Photo/Tompkins County)

A time capsule buried 25 years ago was recently discovered at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport during the early stages of an ongoing $35 million renovation project.

The capsule was found on November 15 within the walls of the previous terminal, where it was planted at the conclusion of the 1994 renovations.

Included inside were both a program and ribbon from the Grand Opening Ceremony held on May 21, 1994.

Additionally, a letter was discovered written by then-airport Manager Robert A. Nicholas, in which he makes several predictions about the future, hitting topics like technology, politics and the future of aviation.

“Building the new terminal was a fun project and being the airport manager here in Tompkins County has been a very rewarding and interesting job,” Nicholas wrote. “I look forward to contributing much more to the future of this great little airport…hopefully I will be around long enough to see if some of my predictions will come to be.” Nicholas, who is originally from Oxfordshire, England, retired in 2014 after 25 years of service at ITH.

The full letter can be read at

(Photo/Tompkins County)

Also discovered in the capsule were photos of former airport staff, 1994 Mint Proof Sets, original blueprints and and other miscellaneous local and airport-related items from 1994 — ranging from an issue of Sky Mall Magazine to a long Wegmans grocery receipt.

A brochure from the 1994 airport update was also inside, which outlines the $11 million project that created a new 33,000 square foot terminal, a runway extension, additional parking spaces and boarding gates, as well as a waiting area for passengers.

It’s now been a quarter century since that capsule was buried, and the means by which it was discovered were part of a current $35 million renovation to expand and modernize the airport into an eventual international hub.

Current plans will double the size of the 1994 building with a total of six gates, four jet bridges, a customs facility, and a restaurant/bar.

Airport officials say they’ll put together a 2019 time capsule in the coming month before the renovated airport officially opens its doors.

They’re now requesting content suggestions from the public.

“One of the most interesting things about the terminal expansion project was discovering the time capsule that was buried 25 years ago,” said Mike Hall, Director of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. “We’re looking forward to burying the new time capsule, which contains a divider so that we can fill half the capsule with the 1994 items and half with new items that represent our present moment in Tompkins County.”

Click here to see more photos of the time capsule discovery on DropBox from Tompkins County.

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