PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- April 5, 2001 -- Apparently, Jeanne Cass, manageress of the dressmakers of The Shepard Company in Providence, was a forward thinking woman. When Shepards was constructing an addition at 80 Washington Street in 1901, Madame Cass requested that the names of all of her workers cutters, fitters, waist makers -- be written down and placed in a time capsule. The tin box was placed behind the brick wall on the Union Street side of the building.
Fast forward 100 years. Gary Lulli, director of Facilities and Operations at the University of Rhode Islands Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education, which now makes its home at the renovated Shepards building, is this centurys Jeanne Cass.
When the former department store was undergoing its renovations in 1995, workers for the Gilbane Building Company notified Lulli that they had discovered a box inside the wall with Madame Casss list of employees.
That gave Lulli an idea. He bought a Tupperware container its waterproof and for the past 6 years collected items press clippings about the Colleges move into the building, a reunion tea for former Shepard workers, etc. -- to place in a new time capsule. This year, he is asking everyone who works at the College to sign their name on a piece of paper a la Madame Cass.
On April 21st, the 16th annual Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference will be held at the College. At the conclusion of the conference, participants will join Lulli around 5 p.m. in a little ceremony that places the time capsule into the wall directly across from Johns Restaurant on Union Street.
Perhaps in another 100 years, the next generation of workers will find Lullis time capsule and start the cycle again. Only time will tell.
For Information: Gary Lulli, 277-5030, Jan Sawyer, 874-2116