Blast from past

Bonnie Nava, Barbara Harder, and Betty Williams look over items placed in the City of Rockport’s Centennial time capsule by their parents, Philip and Penny Baldwin.

Fifty years ago Judge Philip Baldwin and his wife, Penny, placed a few personal items in a time capsule, which was unearthed and unsealed prior to the demolition of the Rockport City Hall. The capsule was buried in 1970. The occasion was the City of Rockport’s Centennial Celebration.

Unfortunately, moisture seeped through the seal of the stainless steel capsule, which was placed inside a concrete vault.

However, many of the items were recovered and restored, albeit not in mint condition.

Three of the four Baldwin daughters - Bonnie Nava, Barbara Harder, and Betty Williams - gathered at the Rockport Service Center Monday, Oct. 12 to see what their parents placed in the capsule, and relived some of the events of 50 years ago. Becky Merritt, the fourth sister, was not able to make it to the unveiling.

There were letters from mom and dad, as well as letters each of the four daughters had written about themselves, and their thoughts about the future.

One of the letters, heavily decomposed, was gently slipped out of a plastic bag for the daughters to see.

“That’s momma’s handwriting,” they said in unison.

Their father had placed four portraits of himself in the capsule, one for each daughter. There were also four pennies. The three daughters believed their mother placed them in the capsule since her name is Penny.

The daughters’ parents are both deceased, but many remember them as active members in the community. Their home on Glass Avenue was always a favorite place to visit on Halloween.

Judge Baldwin spent 32 years in education in the Aransas County Independent School District prior to seeking a justice of the peace post. He served in that capacity for almost 10 years, but resigned in the middle of his final term as he fought his battle with cancer.

There are other letters recovered from the capsule where the names are illegible, but the contents are still readable. If one thinks he or she or a family member may have participated in the letter-writing campaign, and want to review the letters, please contact Kimberly Henry by email khenry@cityofrockport.com or phone (361) 729-2213 ext. 253.

Other contents include many pieces of news media, budgets, audits, letters, coins, photos, etc. City staff has worked diligently to save as many items as possible.

They may be viewed on the city’s web site.

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