New Castle News

Closer Look

March 22, 2013

Time capsule contained papers from 1955

NEW CASTLE — Stanley Magusiak should have worn a dust mask while prying open a time capsule unearthed by school construction excavators.

The powdery reek from mildewed papers assaulted his nostrils as he pried a hole in the top of the metal box to see its contents.

The box was found under a cornerstone of the Harry W. Lockley Elementary School during digging for the early learning center project.

It had been buried since 1955.

Magusiak, the New Castle school district’s acting superintendent, was eager to open it to see what was inside, but he waited until the March school board meeting to reveal its contents. The musty papers sat on a desk, next to the box.

Inside was a program for the dedication of the Harry W. Lockley Elementary School on Dec. 1, 1955.

The superintendent at the time was Walter A. Kearney and New Castle’s mayor was Edward A. DeCarbo.

Rene Maxwell and Kenneth Rhodes were first-grade students who accepted the key.

Also in the box was a list of costs of building the school, which totaled $607,888. The building was designed by W.G. Eckles Co. architects. The district had floated a $600,000 bond issue at the time.

A list of board members, officers and administrators was also in the box, along with a directory for the 1954-55 New Castle Public Schools and a list of members of the New Castle School District Authority.

The school board members at the time of the dedication were Samuel H. Byers, James M. Dart, Lester F. Johns, Elizabeth Kleckner, Walter E. Myers, C. Edson Rummel, Margaret G. Seal and Daniel B. Woodcock. The solicitor was William D. Cobau.

John N. Cornelius was the school principal. Dr. Howard Stewart was assistant superintendent of schools.

Magusiak and the school board were surprised to learn at last week’s meeting that the time capsule is not the only one that has been buried over the years at the school.

Two former New Castle students, Carmen Faraoni of Pittsburgh and David Janacone of New Castle, attended the district’s March 13 meeting, thinking the box was one their 70-member fifth-grade class had ceremoniously buried in 1979.

That capsule was to have been reopened in 1990, but as far as anyone knows, it still remains underground.

Faraoni said Wednesday he does not know whether it was opened, but he thought the school was searching for the former fifth-graders to find out where it was.

Magusiak said he was unaware of the second time capsule and would find out more about its whereabouts, with the intent of having the contractors retrieve that one, too.

The 1970 capsule was actually dubbed a “space capsule,” and was part of a project on space study. A school play presented at the time was called “A Trip to Planet Mars.”

The items inside that capsule included a six-cent stamp, a comic book, three 1969 pennies, a picture of the school, a picture of the fifth-grade class with Marguerite Fiscus as the teacher, a clipping about a capsule buried at Jameson Hospital, a toy telephone, a glass tube containing an American flag, a tube of earth rocks, a tube with pictures of astronauts, a TV guide, a letter and the script of the play.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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