Former world boxing heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali’s Deer Lake, PA, training camp now called Fighter’s Heaven hosted a burial ceremony for a 50-year time capsule at the camp.
The capsule preserves the life and legacy of Ali, said Mike Madden, owner of Ali’s training camp since 2016. “Today is exciting. We’re burying a time capsule,” said Madden. It’s a milestone. We’re here during the weekend of Ali’s passing. It was six years ago that he passed and 50 years ago that he trained here.
This took place June 4th to witness the burial of a compilation of stories showing 50 years of history at the training camp, from the establishment in 1971 to its restoration and present day museum.
Fighter’s Heaven tour volunteer Lynda Pollack-Schiffer, of Orwigsburg, is passionate about the training camp. Some of the memorabilia in the time capsule includes her father, Bernie Pollack, since he sold the Deer Lake land to Ali for the camp.
“This is unique to the sporting world and it needs to be preserved, his lessons, his attitudes and his outlooks on things. If he were still around and could speak…some of the things going on in our society, I think he could bring some clarity to it,” said Madden.
The heritage time capsule is part of a Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office Community Initiative Award presented to Fighter’s Heaven in 2019.
Jeff Julian, a Muhlenburg Township photographer and Fighter’s Heaven volunteer, filled the time capsule with newspaper and magazine articles, historical photographs of Ali and memorabilia related to Ali’s former training camp.
Mike Stefanek, Fighter’s Heaven manager, said the legacy of Ali continues because of the camp’s renovations and restoration of the training camp in Deer Lake, create a destination that will, for decades to come, remind some, and educate others, about the remarkable and inspirational life of Muhammad Ali.
“So we’re here to keep the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali alive through providing this camp open to the public for free,” said Stefanek.
Free tours are available by appointment Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
For more information, go to fightersheaven.com.