"Every now and then we find wonderful things when we do demolition on old homes," Devon Hartman, owner of HartmanBaldwin, in Claremont, Calif., says. Once, in a home in a neighborhood known as Russian Village, Hartman found a handwritten note dated 1902. It detailed how the builder — an artist and socialist — was building his home. That's part of the reason why Hartman and project partner Dennis Allen decided to create a time capsule filled with drawings, photographs, signatures of the owners, and names of those who worked on the project and bury it in a wall at a current project, the local Darling-Wright House.
HartmanBaldwin, a design/build company that does its share of historic projects, recently began a massive restoration and renovation job at the home, a Greene and Greene-designed Craftsman bungalow. "It's a mecca for Craftsman aficionados," Hartman says. "Having the opportunity to take a 100-year-old house and send it ahead into the next couple of centuries inspired us to be thinking about the future. When you’re so involved in the past, you automatically think about the future." The home will also be the first Build It Green "green point rated" home in California.
Because of the kind of work his company does, Hartman is certain that "in 100 years people will have heard about HartmanBaldwin, and it’ll be fun for people to find the time capsule."
Burying a time capsule on such an important project was too good a visual for the media to miss. TV stations, newspapers, and local townspeople came out to watch. It offered HartmanBaldwin a chance not only to show off its project but also to educate people about preservation and sustainable building. Hartman says that over the years he and his staff would leave things like a set of plans behind surreptitiously, but now he's thinking of doing something more formal on upcoming projects.