- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Dana Few Pope and Gary Lewis peeled the top layer of tin off of a time capsule that was sealed and buried 50 years ago at the former Center Theater, now The Scrap Exchange.

Pope and Lewis took turns showing the contents in the box to a crowd that gathered on the night of Dec. 16 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Scrap Exchange and the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Center Theater. Among the contents unearthed: A register of names of people who attended the time capsule burial, a reel-to-reel tape recording of the theater’s opening ceremony, and a letter from then Mayor Wense Grabarek to the future mayor of 2016.

“Somebody put a picture of Mick Jagger in here,” Pope said, holding up a photo of a twentysomething Jagger. Some attendees at the 1966 ceremony put in school pictures. One of them was Duffy McDonald, who at the time was a seventh-grader at Githens Junior High School. McDonald attended the capsule opening.

“Duffy McDonald, here’s your school picture,” Pope said, and McDonald raised his hand.

The time capsule opening coincided with the unveiling of a new exhibit in The Scrap Exchange’s Cameron Gallery titled “Unpacking the Past, Designing the Future: Lakewood and The Scrap Exchange in Partnership.”

The party featured local beer and food. The Bulltown Strutters led a parade around the store to the site where the capsule had been buried just outside the building entrance, with instructions to open it in 2016. Julia Gartrell, special events coordinator at The Scrap Exchange, then took the capsule to a podium inside the building, where it was opened.

Ann Woodward, executive director of The Scrap Exchange, said she was glad the capsule came with instructions. When the organization bought the building, “we knew we would honor the tradition” and open the time capsule, Woodward said.

Pope is the daughter of Ran Few, who developed Lakewood Shopping Center. Lewis is the son of Charlie Lewis, who opened the downtown Center Theater in 1938, then the Lakewood theater in 1966. Pope said she was 7 when she attended the theater dedication and capsule burial. Lewis said he was 13 at the time, and worked at the theater until he was 18.

“I know my dad would be glad the building did not get razed, as the old theater did,” Lewis said.

The celebration prompted many reminiscences about Lakewood. Cornell Johnson and his mom Marlene Johnson-Moses were at the capsule burial and attended the 50th anniversary party. Cornell Johnson said he was 8 at the time and remembers putting something into the box, but was not sure what he included.

Paula Januzzi-Godfrey, who ran the Busy Street children’s museum in Lakewood Shopping Center from 1998 to 2002, was at the event with her daughter Callie Scher, now 20, who remembered going to Busy Street as a child.

Today, people in their early 20s recognize her and reminisce about Busy Street, Januzzi-Godfrey said. “They all remember the fire pole” that was part of the play museum, she said.

Kim Digsby was a staff member at Busy Street. “I remember the kids having a great time,” Digsby said. “I remember the parties we used to have. It was a great and amazing place.”

The event also had Durham party touches. Willa Brigham led the crowd in a jingle she wrote for The Scrap Exchange (“Come on down to The Scrap Exchange / You may just have to change your name”). The Bulltown Strutters played their theme song “Little Liza Jane,” yelling the word “Reuse!” after each chorus.

The exhibit looks at the history of the Lakewood neighborhood, and offers a vision of what the future may hold. The Scrap Exchange recently purchased some of the northern buildings in Lakewood Shopping Center and plans to develop The National Center for Creative Reuse, which would include affordable housing, a theater, a skateboard park and space for nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Woodward said she wants The Scrap Exchange to be a steward of the surrounding neighborhood, with development centered around reuse and sustainability. “The reuse industry is going to have its day,” Woodward said. She sees the reuse economy creating jobs, fulfilling people’s basic needs, encouraging cottage industries and creativity.

Durham County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Wendy Jacobs said she was excited by The Scrap Exchange’s vision for rejuvenating Lakewood.

“It’s amazing to watch the transformation of what has become an institution,” she said.


Information from: The Herald-Sun, https://www.herald-sun.com

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