NILES Pieces of school's history discovered

Some of the items will be framed and displayed.
NILES -- Pieces of the past keep falling into place -- or out of their hiding places -- at Edison Junior High.
Over the past week, numerous items dating back to when the school was built as Niles High School have been discovered, and they are now being preserved for the future.
It all began on Tuesday with the discovery of a time capsule in the 1914 cornerstone. The capsule was found as the front fa & ccedil;ade was being taken off the building to be transferred to the new Niles Middle School.
The items in the capsule included literature related to the laying of the cornerstone, a handbook for the school system, and newspapers.
Edison Principal Robert L. Marino Jr. said the items were in "impeccable condition" when they were taken out, but within a couple of days were already beginning to crumble.
The items were taken to the Frame Depot in Niles, where owner Bob Fowler placed them under plastic as a temporary form of preservation.
School officials will meet with Fowler on Monday to discuss more permanent means of preserving the memorabilia. Fowler said he would like to see the items displayed in frames that reflect their era, rather than modern designs.
Fowler said the supplies that will be used in the preservation are "100 percent museum quality."
No oxygen will be allowed to reach the items, which will be under glass with ultraviolet protection. They will be mounted on acid-free cotton rag in frames that will be sealed as tightly as possible.
A cost for the project has not been determined. Fowler said the expense will mostly come from the quantity of items and the special glass.
Fowler sees a variety of memorabilia in his store, but he said these are unique because of their relationship to local history and because of the transition to the new middle school.
The district is also planning to preserve the six solid limestone pillars that are in front of the school.
More discoveries
Meanwhile, bond coupons, pay slips and grade books were all found this week in a garbage bag above the safe at Edison.
The bond coupons were used to raise money for the building of Niles High School. They are the same coupons talked about in a flier found in the time capsule, asking citizens to support the schools.
The pay slips and grade books are dated from the 1920s.
Marino was surprised to find the garbage bags, which have not been sorted through entirely yet because of their filth.
Also in yet another effort to preserve the history, the marble clock that was in the auditorium has been removed.
Marino estimated that the clock, a part of the original building, weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. It will be repaired and cleaned, then placed in the conference room of the new building. "It's in remarkable condition," he said.
Marino said he plans to see what other pieces of history are stashed away at Edison. The catwalks between the third floor and the roof may prove to be another source of mementos.

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