Jefferson Centralized School time capsule opened on 109th anniversary


XENIA — A time capsule was opened Friday after exactly 109 years of being sealed into the Jefferson Township Centralized School building from 1915.

The capsule was opened by members of the Greene County Records Center on June 7. The box was sealed into the cornerstone of the school building on June 7, 1915, as the first centralized school in Greene County.

Local historian and student of the school, Iola Creamer, was present at the capsule’s opening to give a brief history of her time at the school and updates it had undergone since construction, including the addition of indoor bathrooms which were not originally built in.

Prior to opening, Greene County Archives Public Outreach Coordinator Mary McKinley gave a brief history of the Jefferson Centralized School which included a Xenia Gazette newspaper from June 7, 1915. According to McKinley, the sealing of the time capsule and installation of the cornerstone was a monumental moment for Greene County residents, with hundreds in attendance.

The capsule was opened in the Media Room on 541 Ledbetter Road at 10 a.m. Inside, the Archives staff discovered two bottles, letters to future generations, and a newspaper from the Greene County Journal, a weekly paper that has since stopped printing, a Masonic Directory, a paper signed by presumably members of the school or construction crew, a photo of a man (presumed to be the architect), and several more pieces of paper.

Unfortunately, the two corked bottles (which were speculated to contain some kind of medicine) were empty, and their contents may have spilled onto some of the letters inside. Because of this, just one personal letter and the Greene County Journal was clearly legible, though some additional documents may be able to be recovered upon further investigation.

The personal letter that was legible was from the contractor involved in the construction of the Jefferson Centralized School Building. Joseph William Moorman said in his letter he was the general contractor for construction of the building, and a Greene County local his entire life. He was born in 1879 and just 36 years old at the time of writing the letter.

The other papers were guessed to have been letters similar to Moorman’s, but most of them were smudged and unable to be read. The archives staff said they will be taking a closer look at the papers later on to see if anything can be made out.

Guests had a chance to take a look at the items recovered from the time capsule after the Archives staff unveiled it’s contents.

The video of the staff opening the time capsule (which was recorded live) is available on the Greene County Archives Facebook page. There may also be updates on the page if and when new information is discovered from the papers that could not be read.

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.

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