Searching for the past

NILES – Armed with metal detectors and shovels, students, parents, community residents and members of a regional metal-detecting club spent Monday evening searching the front lawn of the old Niles McKinley High School for a time capsule believed buried there in 1964.

The more than 40 participants may not have found the time capsule but did find coins, a lawn mower blade, screwdriver, a railroad spike and a steel bar.

Interim Superintendent Frank Danso said he has spoken with members of the Class of 1964 who say they buried a time capsule on the grounds in mid-May of that year.

”We are trying to locate any time capsule that may have been buried here in front of the old Niles McKinley High School,” he said.

Danso said if it or anything else of note is found it will be displayed in the new school located near the old building, which closed this month and is set for demolition this summer.

He said the contractor will be removing the topsoil from the front lawn in May.

”We plan to give this another try and see what we can find,” he said, adding the date will be announced soon.

Joseph Rossi and Joseph Sankey, both with the Class of 1964, said they remember when the capsule was buried.

”I thought it was closer to the McKinley statue, and he (Sankey) thinks it was closer to the school,” Rossi said.

”I remember coming out the front door of the school and burying it directly to the right behind the statue,” Sankey said.

Efforts were made to find 1964 editions of the Hi Crier (which was the school newspaper) or other local newspapers that may have photographed the burial, but none could be found.

”I though the school may have had an old Hi Crier with a photo of this in it,” Sankey said.

Class of 1964 members said the capsule was placed in a metal box near the statue and included items such as a yearbook, football memorabilia, and school ribbons with school slogans on them, among other things.

Samantha Mayfield, a senior at the school, said many of the seniors and a few underclassmen heard about the effort and wanted to lend a hand.

”I was invited to help dig and came ready to help,” she said.

Brookfield resident Jim Martin of the Tri-County Metal Detector Club said 12 of their members were on the scene as well.

”We get called to help out at many different events. We were there when they emptied Lake Julia in Buhl Park. I was amazed what was there. I found a 1907 bracelet that is on display there,” Martin said.

Larry “Jesse” James, club president, said the club helps people and organizations find lost valuables and other items.