Niles time capsule remains undiscovered

By Sean Barron


So, where is it?

That question might never be answered.

“No, we didn’t find it,” said Jesse James, referring to the result of Monday’s search for a time capsule the Niles McKinley High School Class of 1964 buried nearly 50 years ago.

James, president of Cortland-based Tri-County Metal Detecting Club, was part of a search party that spent a few hours Monday afternoon trying to locate the capsule, which is thought to contain several school artifacts.

James, an estimated 10 club members and others used metal detectors, shovels and even pocket knives in an effort to find the time capsule, but to no avail.

A bulldozer was brought in to assist with the undertaking.

Monday also marked the second and final official attempt to find the item, which may be lost to history.

A similar effort was conducted last May.

It was widely speculated the capsule was buried on the site of the demolished school, which is next to the current high school on Dragon Drive.

Specifically, many people speculated it was near where a statue of President William McKinley stood before being moved about a month ago.

A few people even suggested the capsule may have been unearthed years ago.

Class of 1964 members Marilyn Natoli-Shaftic, Judy Takacs and Joe Rossi, owner of Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home in Niles, were on hand for the dig.

“I think a yearbook, a copy of the Hi-Crier [the school newspaper] and possibly a tassel from a graduating cap are in there,” said Natoli-Shaftic, a lifelong Niles resident, adding that the contents also could include a cardboard dragon denoting the football team’s mascot.

At least one nonconventional idea was floated, thanks to a more recent McKinley High graduate.

“It’s rumored a Beatles album is in it, so I’ve heard,” said Anthony McCarthy, a Class of 2013 grad.

Joining McCarthy with shovels in hand were fellow 2013 grads his twin brother, Dakota McCarthy, Ashley Ruman, Gretchen Fusselman and Alison Gray.

In 1999, the Class of 1964 had its 35th reunion, at which talk concerning the capsule came up, said Steve Ruman, Ashley’s father and a Vindicator correspondent.

In May 2000, five or six class members had a small impromptu dig, he added.

Rossi said he remembered seeing the capsule being buried, but was unable to remember the location and other related details.

Unlike many time-capsule burials, this one was not given a date or year to be brought to the surface, he pointed out.

Had the time capsule been found, it likely would have been cleaned and placed in a prominent site for students and the community to see, said interim Superintendent Frank Danso.

A parking lot will be built on the site and along the way, construction-crew members will make occasional attempts to find the capsule, explained James, who also wanted to debunk a myth about his club.

“We’re not treasure hunters. Most of us are hobby hunters,” he said, adding that the organization often finds old jewelry and small sums of money, including a 1827 coin in mint condition.

For information about the Tri-County Metal Detecting Club, call James at 330-442-4704, or go to

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