In June of 1957, the City of Tulsa organized the “Tulsarama” Golden Jubilee Week—a week-long celebration of the State of Oklahoma’s 50th anniversary of statehood.
During the celebration, the attendees were encouraged to participate in a rather unusual lottery: the grand prize was to be given to the participant, or their relative, who came nearest to guessing the population of Tulsa in 2007.
812 people eagerly entered the lottery, knowing that they would have to wait for 50 years to find out whether they won the appealing prize: a brand new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sports Coupe. The car, affectionately nicknamed “Miss Belvedere,” immediately caught everyone’s attention with its revolutionary design, its flashy desert gold, and sand dune white two-tone paint job and its powerful V8 engine.
On June 15, Miss Belvedere was buried in an underground vault that had been constructed beneath the yard of the Tulsa City Courthouse. In some ways, the vault resembled the classic Cold War-era nuclear fallout shelters: its thick insulated concrete walls were designed to preserve the car in its initial state and protect it from the elements. The crowd cheered as the grand prize was being lowered into the tomb in which it was to remain for the following 50 years.
The trunk and the glove box of the car contained a number of items that had been left for the lucky future owner of the coupe. These included the keys to the car, a list of population estimates made by the lottery participants, an aerial map of the area, a tube of lipstick, a pack of chewing gum, a lighter and a pack of cigarettes, two combs, and, curiously, a bottle of tranquilizers. Also, a hermetically sealed steel container buried behind the car contained ten gallons of leaded gas and some motor oil, which were probably included in case gasoline-powered vehicles became obsolete by 2007.
In June 2007, exactly 50 years later, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Oklahoma’s statehood was marked by the long-awaited excavation of Miss Belvedere.