NILES Time catches up with school
The school district had no record of the time capsule.
By AMY HOUSLEY
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- A piece of history was unexpectedly discovered Tuesday at Edison Junior High School.
A time capsule from 1914 was found when the building's cornerstone was removed.
Schools Superintendent Patrick Guliano and Edison Principal Robert L. Marino Jr said they knew nothing of the capsule and were surprised at the finding.
As part of an effort to preserve the history of the building, Marino said the front facade of the present building is being removed, to be placed inside of the new junior high building, where it will house a trophy case.
Before beginning work on the old building, the district examined its plans.
"Normally, it would be documented on the plans that there would be a time capsule," said Guliano, adding that often a resolution by the school board concerning a capsule also exists. Neither was found in this case.
The building was known as Niles High School until the present high school was built in the 1950s.
Included in the 88-year-old metal box was a copy of school board proceedings, a rolled-up stack of typed notes. The records show that a resolution was passed approving funds for the building of the new high school, a four-room addition to another school and a new sanitation system for a building.
The resolution was for $195,000, only a fraction of the cost of the new junior high building.
A newspaper dated Sept. 25, 1914, heralded the upcoming laying of the cornerstone. The well-preserved papers provide a glimpse into life during a time of war in Europe. (The United States didn't formally enter into World War I until 1917.)
Also in the time capsule were an invitation to the cornerstone-laying Sept. 27, 1914, and a program from the historic day.
Also included were a flier promoting the bond issue for the school and a course of study for the high school. Courses at that time included zoology, domestic arts and agricultural courses, among others.
A slender handbook dated 1912 was included in the capsule, giving the annual school report through July 1 to the board of education. At the back of the book, all high school alumni from 1875 to 1912 were listed. That first year, only one student graduated and there were intermediate years when the district graduated no one.
All of the employees of the school system were named and job descriptions for each position were laid out. A budget for the year shows the total amount of salaries paid to teachers for the district was $24,227.04.
Marino said a teacher starting in the district now would make an annual salary of more than $25,000.
Guliano said he plans to put the time capsule on display, possibly in the trophy case of the new junior high building. In the meantime, he will be in contact with the Niles Historical Society and officials at the McKinley Memorial Library.
The time capsule and its contents will be presented to the board of education at its meeting Thursday.
Marino said the school system will place its own time capsule at the new junior high building. This fall, students from Edison Junior High and other schools in the district will have the opportunity to add a piece of history for the future.