The dining room table in Vic Appugliese’s Old North End home is covered with the history of the neighborhood north of downtown Colorado Springs.
There are dozens of photos and typed stories of neighbors past and present.
On the floor, by the table, is a six-foot-long PVC tube that Appugliese is filling with similar photos and stories.
On Saturday, the tube will be sealed inside a stone pillar that is part of a new entry sign being unveiled at 5:15 p.m. by the neighborhood.
Written on the tube are instructions that it should not be opened for 100 years, after July 26, 2114.
The time capsule and the rock-and-steel sign, erected on North Nevada Avenue at Lilac Street, are just a couple examples why I admire the folks of the Old North End.
Every neighborhood could learn a lot from this neighborhood, bordered by Uintah Street on the south, the old Rock Island Railroad ditch on the north, Monument Valley Park to the west and Wahsatch Avenue, roughly, to the east.
I think it’s great they are erecting entry signs. (This is the second sign they’ve built.) A lot of neighborhoods display their pride and sense of place with similar signs.
But what’s unique about the signs of the Old North End is that they added PVC tubes with artifacts and photos and histories of the residents and homes and even their pets to create a treasure for future residents.
The first sign contained one tube and the sign being unveiled Saturday will contain two history tubes.
This bunch really thinks ahead.
And it has been doing so since 1957 when the neighborhood first organized its association.
Over the years, the neighbors have united to fight wholesale invasion by developers who threatened to change the character and charm of the neighborhood, which boasts wide, tree-line streets and century-old homes in a wide range of sizes on large lots.
Neighbors have worked with Penrose Hospital to prevent its expansion from overwhelming and ruining the neighborhood’s north edge. Same for Colorado College on the south border.
The Old North End Neighborhood Association has battled with the Colorado Department of Transportation over the widening of Interstate 25 to protect residents of noise, to lobby for rubberized asphalt and to negotiate for replacement of hundreds of trees removed during construction a decade ago.
(The neighbors say CDOT still owes them hundreds of trees and they still want rubberized asphalt, by the way.)
And now it’s preserving its history for future residents.
Appugliese is a great example of why the neighborhood association has been able to stay relevant all these years.
He’s a former soldier, a Gulf War veteran, who has a passion for history and his neighborhood.
Since moving to the Old North End in 1999, he has volunteered on committees and even served as president of the association four years.
Today he remains active to the extent he spent the Fourth of July holiday with a couple neighbors building the sign.
“This is a great community of people of all sorts of backgrounds,” he said. “People here share a passion for our neighborhood. It’s an old-fashioned community and we hope it always will be.”
Besides writing his own history for the time capsule, Appugliese prepared a history of past association presidents.
“These are people who stepped up and made a lot of personal sacrifices on behalf of the neighborhood,” he said. “They faced a lot of challenges and worked hard to keep neighborhood momentum going. We want to honor them.”
Also included is a copy of a “Presidential Order No. 17” that Appugliese signed on Feb. 1, 2013, symbolically banning fracking in the Old North End.
“I wanted to make a statement,” he said, unapologetically.
The neighborhood school, Steele Elementary, is well-documented along with beloved Fire Station 2, which carries an Old North End logo on its truck.
And there are photos of houses decorated for Halloween and Christmas and of several of the Old North End’s dogs of the year. That’s right, they annually elect a “dog of the year.”
I asked Appugliese what he hoped would happen to the time capsule in a century.
“I hope they will open it and then fill it with their own stories,” he said.