City Cel­e­brates Cen­ter De­spite Miss­ing Cap­sule Con­tents

Riverbank News - - FRONT PAGE - BY RIC McGIN­NIS

Though the star of the show was miss­ing in ac­tion, the City of River­bank and the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety still took time on Fri­day, Aug. 17 to cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary of the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter ded­i­ca­tion.

The con­tents of the 50-year-old time cap­sule may still be gone, but that didn’t put much of a damper on the cel­e­bra­tion at the River­bank Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. The din­ner-dance fundraiser went off as planned, with more than 100 at­ten­dees en­joy­ing the bar­be­cued food and the live mu­sic af­ter din­ner.

It was a recog­ni­tion of the an­niver­sary of the orig­i­nal ded­i­ca­tion of the cen­ter, back on Aug. 17, 1968.

This cur­rent cel­e­bra­tion was or­ga­nized by a com­mit­tee of vol­un­teers from the River­bank His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and city staff, with Mayor Richard O’Brien act­ing as Master of Cer­e­monies.

Be­fore the din­ner, he wel­comed those coun­cil mem­bers and other elected of­fi­cials who were in at­ten­dance. It was a full house, coun­cil wise, with Vice Mayor Dar­lene Barber-Mar­tinez, and mem­bers Cal Camp­bell, Cindy Fosi, and Leanne Jones-Cruz all present.

Also in­tro­duced were past may­ors Charles Neal and Bill O’Brien, the cur­rent mayor’s nephew.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions that pur­chased en­tire ta­bles for the event were rec­og­nized, in­clud­ing the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, Lana Clayton’s Farm­ers In­sur­ance of­fice, the River­bank Women’s Club, city staff, Galaxy The­atres and F & M Bank, among oth­ers.

Beverages were do­nated by Gallo and Con­stel­la­tion wines, Delta Sierra Beverages, and Star­bucks.

Since the an­tic­i­pated un­veil­ing of the 50-year-old time cap­sule was not avail­able at show time, key in­di­vid­u­als from the orig­i­nal event, in 1968, took cen­ter stage that evening in­stead.

River­bank Ci­ti­zen of the Year for 1968 Do­minic Gen­ova was rec­og­nized and of­fered a few words on the his­tory of the site. He noted that the city block area be­tween Santa Fe and Stanis­laus streets and Sixth and Sev­enth streets had been the lo­ca­tion of “Vic­tory Homes.” Work­ers at the nearby Army Ammo Plant on Claus Road lived there dur­ing the ‘50s and ‘60s, at the height of the plant’s op­er­a­tion.

Also present was Carolyn Faye (Mullin) Hen­drix, Miss River­bank 1968, who was crowned dur­ing the orig­i­nal ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­monies. She told the crowd how, at first, she didn’t hear her name called dur­ing the cer­e­mony.

She ex­plained that she orig­i­nally wasn’t in­ter­ested in com­pet­ing in the pageant, but her friend talked her into it when she found that the friend was the only con­tes­tant.

When the an­nounce­ment was

made, Hen­drix ex­plained, she hadn’t ex­pected to win, think­ing her friend was much pret­tier. Fi­nally, though, she re­ceived the crown, and helped with the cor­ner­stone ded­i­ca­tion.

And she noted that she met her hus­band that year, just two weeks af­ter be­ing crowned. They mar­ried soon af­ter.

Per­haps the most poignant mo­ments of the evening came when then-coun­cil­man Allen Traw­ick ad­dressed the crowd. He is the only sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the 1968 River­bank City Coun­cil that built and ded­i­cated both the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter and the nearby Com­mu­nity Pool.

He spoke of the ef­forts, not only by the coun­cil, but also by just plain ev­ery­day res­i­dents to come up with the $400,000 price tag for the con­struc­tion of the cen­ter. He said their work, added to gov­ern­men­tal grants and funds do­nated by lo­cal busi­nesses, made the cen­ter a re­al­ity.

Traw­ick spoke of the pride he felt in the ef­forts made by the com­mu­nity to bring the project to fruition.

When the time came, Mayor O’Brien led the crowd in a toast to the past, present and fu­ture of the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. The au­di­ence hoisted glasses of sparkling wine, sparkling cider or just wa­ter, de­pend­ing on pref­er­ence. Then din­ers en­joyed din­ner and a spe­cial cake, do­nated by the lo­cal O’Brien’s Mar­ket, was cut for dessert, with two phases of cut­ting.

First, Traw­ick and Hen­drix, rep­re­sent­ing the past, made a cut, then His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety Pres­i­dent Kristin Platts and Mayor O’Brien took a turn, sym­bol­iz­ing the present.

A va­ri­ety of wines, beers and soft drinks were avail­able for pur­chase.

Dur­ing din­ner, a combo call Funky Tim and the Mer­lots played soft rock mu­sic from the late ‘60s to early ‘70s, then turned it up a notch or two for danc­ing through the rest of the evening.

There were sev­eral dis­plays around the room, built by vol­un­teers from the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, show­ing news­pa­per cov­er­age of the orig­i­nal 1968 ded­i­ca­tion, along with maps of the city from that time. There was a dis­play rep­re­sent­ing the first grad­u­at­ing class of River­bank High School. It opened in 1967. A mem­ber of that class, Ma­rina (Acosta) Camp­bell, wife of coun­cil­man Cal Camp­bell, brought her RHS Year­book for those in­ter­ested to view.

Dis­play pho­tos showed off what the orig­i­nal Vic­tory Homes looked like be­fore they were de­mol­ished. There are also pic­tures of vary­ing stages of the con­struc­tion of the site. At one end of the dis­play ta­ble was the plaque that had been mounted on the cor­ner­stone in 1968, along with the steel box from be­hind it. Of­fi­cials had thought it would con­tain the time cap­sule ma­te­ri­als. When prepa­ra­tions were be­ing made for the open­ing, city crews found there was noth­ing in­side.

How­ever, ear­lier last Fri­day, in the af­ter­noon, city of­fi­cials held a brief cer­e­mony rec­og­niz­ing the un­cov­er­ing of the cor­ner­stone, in­clud­ing a new procla­ma­tion from City Hall.

Both city staff and mem­bers of the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety worked to­gether to put on the event, as a joint fundraiser.

The city plans to use its share of the pro­ceeds to help de­fray the costs in­volved in the re­mod­el­ing work on the cen­ter, which will be­gin some­time in Septem­ber, staff said. They’re hop­ing to be done some­time in Jan­uary 2019.

Dur­ing the con­struc­tion pe­riod, groups like the Se­nior Lunch Pro­gram, the Women’s Club Christ­mas Lun­cheon and the Royal Neigh­bors’ Vet­er­ans Day Lun­cheon will have to find other lo­ca­tions for their events.

RIC MCGIN­NIS/THE NEWS

Glasses are lifted in a toast, led by River­bank Mayor Richard D. O’Brien, at right, in cel­e­bra­tion of the 50th An­niver­sary of the ded­i­ca­tion of the Com­mu­nity Cen­ter on Fri­day, Aug. 17. The cor­ner­stone of the build­ing was ded­i­cated on that day in 1968.

RIC MCGIN­NIS/THE NEWS

Fri­day’s cel­e­bra­tion at the River­bank Com­mu­nity Cen­ter ded­i­ca­tion in­cluded a dis­play of the cor­ner­stone plaque and the box that was to con­tain the 1968 Time Cap­sule, near­est the cam­era. The plan was to dis­play the con­tents at a din­ner-dance fundraiser that night, but the cap­sule was dis­cov­ered to be miss­ing.

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