Four boxes sit inside the Boone Hospital Center time capsule, each one representing a different era of service to the community in and around Boone County. The capsule has been unlocked three times since the hospital opened in 1921, each time marking another milestone in the hospital’s history and a promise of continued service.
The first box inside the capsule is from Boone Hospital’s inaugural year. After residents approved a plan to spend $100,000 for a new hospital and more than a year of construction, the hospital opened its doors on Dec. 10, 1921. Three days later the hospital received its first patient, and two weeks later, on Christmas Eve, Boone Hospital delivered its first baby. The box memorializing that year is filled with historical documents and news articles chronicling the hospital’s construction and opening. There are also health fliers and announcements from the American Red Cross, including one informing children that “cheerfulness promotes digestion.”
The capsule wasn’t opened for another 60 years. The 1981 time capsule box featured merchandise with Boone Hospital’s slogan at the time: “Boone Hospital Center makes me feel good.” In addition to the buttons and shirts with the slogan, the box included a videotape with a commercial for the hospital on it.
To mark another significant year at the hospital, a third box was added in 1996 for the hospital’s 75th anniversary. Most of the items in this box were trinkets from the 75th anniversary celebrations, including mugs and pamphlets. In true ’90s fashion, a floppy disk with an early version of the hospital’s website was also included.
Finally, marking Boone Hospital’s 90 years of care, the capsule was opened for a third time in 2011. Pictures of the 2011 blizzard were added, along with pictures of Boone Hospital staff cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Staff also included a smartphone, a pager and models and pictures representing Boone Hospital’s technological advancements.
As thousands of Boone County residents walk through Boone Hospital Center’s doors each year, the time capsule stands as a tangible reminder of the decades of health care that BHC has provided to the community. As each new box is added, staff at the hospital can be reminded of the promise Dr. Frank Nifong and other pioneers of the hospital made almost a century ago: to improve the health of the people and communities of mid-Missouri.