The “Lost” Steve Jobs Time Capsule

Aspen Steve Jobs Time Capsule

This is the time capsule that holds an Apple Lisa mouse donated by Steve Jobs – Photo courtesy of John Celuch, Inland Design

The response to the “Lost” Steve Jobs Speech has been absolutely phenomenal! I have more to say about the speech, which I will post in the future, but first I wanted to share another interesting tidbit about Steve Jobs and that 1983 conference in Aspen.

John Celuch of Inland Design, my client who gave me the tape of Steve Jobs’ speech at the 1983 IDCA, shared with me the story of a time capsule buried at that conference. The theme of the conference was “The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be,” so a time capsule seemed like a natural project to go along with the conference. He was part of the informal committee that was in charge of gathering items to be placed in the time capsule. The plan was to unearth the time capsule either after 20 years or in the year 2000 (he doesn’t remember exactly).

After Steve Jobs’ speech, in which he used an Apple Lisa computer to control what Celuch recalls was a 6 projector setup, John approached Jobs and asked for something that he could include in the time capsule. Jobs thought about it for a few seconds and then unplugged the mouse from the Lisa. Celuch recalls that he was amused by the manner in which he was handed the mouse, as Jobs held the mouse by its cord, almost as one would hold a real mouse by the tail. So into the time capsule the Lisa mouse went, where it was buried at the end of the conference to be unearthed about 20 years later.

And here is where the story gets really interesting. As Celuch recalls, the time capsule was not unearthed as planned. I did some research on this and found a newspaper article published in 2010, “After 27 years, Aspen time capsule location remains unknown.” Apparently, no one knows for sure where the time capsule is located! The grounds where the time capsule was buried has changed hands and improvements made to the area have possibly changed the landscape enough to make locating the time capsule difficult. Additionally, any documentation detailing the exact location of the time capsule seems to be missing. Regardless, the current owners do not want people haphazardly digging all over their land.

So long story short, there is a piece of Apple and Steve Jobs history buried in Aspen, Colorado. And no one seems to know exactly where it is. Making it yet another “lost” piece of Steve Jobs lore.

That being said, I would love to organize an effort to recover this time capsule. John Celuch has already started gathering contact info for the people he remembers who were involved in the time capsule project. I hope by publicizing this information, we will find people who were involved or who have the missing pieces of information that will give the exact location of the missing time capsule. If you were involved, or know anyone involved, in the International Design Conference at Aspen in 1983, I would appreciate being contacted. Wouldn’t it be great if we could dig up the time capsule next year, on the 30th anniversary of its burial?