Despite chilly temperatures and threatening skies, more than 140 people gathered Saturday to witness the opening of a time capsule, buried in the foundation of the former Westfield Elementary School when it was built in 1923.
They weren’t disappointed.
The time capsule was discovered when the school was demolished earlier this year. But the contents of the box, which had been soldered shut, remained hidden until Saturday’s unveiling at Westfield Park Circle in Westfield Center.
“I think it’s time to open the capsule,” said Anita Weaver, head of the Westfield Center Historical Society.
Weaver was visibly excited as she stood at a long white table, next to members of the local Masonic lodge.
As light rain began to fall, umbrellas were held to shield the contents of the box. One of the first items removed from the capsule were blueprints of the school.
There also were many letters back and forth from the Ohio Lodge about constructing and dedicating the Masonic corner stone in the building.
The July 10, 1923, edition of The Medina County Gazette was found inside as well. Surprisingly, it was in near perfect condition.
“It’s almost like they were just put inside yesterday,” one person was heard to say.
Weaver said, “that’s the whole idea of a time capsule, you never know what you’re going to find.”
Other objects included postcards, directories, photographs, various newsletters and newspapers, and more.
The content of the letters and papers from 1923 seemed to be more historical in context than personal and that suits Weaver and the Historical Society just fine.
“We would have liked to see a few more personal things but we’re very excited to see what was there,” she said. “It certainly helps in preserving the history of our town.”
Village Mayor Thomas Horwedel addressed the excited crowd even as the wind and rain played havoc with the sound system. Without a functioning microphone the mayor had to shout to be heard.
“The process of unveiling this capsule was really about preserving the history and heritage of the school,” the mayor said.
Horwedel explain that the Cloverleaf Board of Education sold the school building to the village of Westfield for one dollar. The school was closed, along with elementary schools in Seville and Lodi, after the district built a consolidated elementary school two years ago.
The mayor said the village sold the building to Westfield Insurance for $100,000 to cover expenses incurred during the transfer of the property.
After the event had ended, with rain falling steadily, some retreated to the relative cover of the gazebo.
“We were very pleased with the turnout,” Weaver said. “Because we had no real knowledge of the capsule beforehand, we had a hard time letting people know in advance about the event.”
There already is a display at village hall put together by the Historical Society. By Labor Day the historical society hopes to have a monument in Westfield Park that will include the school’s cornerstones and the time capsule.
Contact reporter Seth Breedlove at (330) 721-6065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.