1969 jail time capsule open


Fifty years later …

By Anna Bolton - abolton@aimmediamidwest.com



Archivist Robin Heise reads the back of a <em>Gazette</em> photograph depicting the signing of the contract to construct a new jail in 1968.

Archivist Robin Heise reads the back of a Gazette photograph depicting the signing of the contract to construct a new jail in 1968.


Public Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Multimedia Archivist Elise Kelly and Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan watch as Archivist Robin Heise shows the crowd an empty time capsule.


Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin reads the speech he gave at the 1969 ceremony celebrating the laying of the Greene County Jail’s cornerstone.


Multimedia Archivist Elise Kelly opens a 1969 Greene County map alongside Public Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan and Archivist Robin Heise.


Residents check out the items retrieved from the time capsule. Prosecutor Stephen Haller and Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin talk in the background.


Photos by Anna Bolton | Greene County News Greene County Archivist Robin Heise pulls out the first item, 1969 newspapers, from the copper time capsule.


Joan Donovan, archivist assistant, unrolls a document alongside Robin Heise, archivist, in the Greene County Commissioners’ meeting room.


Our New Jail

By Thomas E. Kelley, jail committee member, 1969

Look at Sheriff Bradley,

My, isn’t he pale;

He’s still in shock

Over getting his jail.

He waited for years.

He begged and he pleaded;

Telling Greene County

How much it was needed.

He told it by pictures.

He’d tell each grand jury;

He’d tell it calmly,

Sometimes with fury.

Year after year

We needed a jail;

The place grew worse.

The story grew stale.

Then suddenly it took off

Like a great big bird;

People took it to heart,

The plea finally heard.

Today we look at it

Almost completed;

A final tax levy

Many times defeated.

I’m happy to have been

On the Jail Committee;

If the county hadn’t rallied

It would have been a pity.

So now Sheriff Bradley,

Give us a big smile;

For you finally have it

And it will be here a while.

The disgrace is gone

Down under that pile;

Greene County through

We’ll all help you smile.

XENIA — At 10 a.m. June 21, 2019, exactly fifty years to the minute that residents witnessed the laying of the cornerstone at the Greene County Jail, its time capsule was opened.

About 100 people attended the 1969 ceremony, held on a truck bed in front of the jail. A half century passed until residents packed the Greene County Commissioners’ meeting room down the street to see the copper time capsule, retrieved earlier from the hollow cornerstone.

“Last May I was looking through the commissioners’ journals and stumbled upon an entry regarding the laying of the cornerstone ceremony for the jail. As an archivist, when I see the words ‘time capsule,’ I get pretty excited,” Greene County Archivist Robin Heise told the crowd.

Heise said County Services crews recently extracted the copper time capsule from the jail.

“This is exciting,” Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said. “The wall was torn down and this box was removed. We found it again.”

Residents and elected officials watched as Heise and staff members pulled out the box’s contents, piece by piece.

“Even though this box was opened yesterday, human eyes have not looked inside it until now,” Heise said. “Here we go.”

Inside were: copies of the Fairborn Daily Herald, Beavercreek News and Xenia Daily Gazette; Sheriff Russell A. Bradley’s badge; a county township trustees and clerks list; a story of the jail campaign and photographic slides; Sheriff (1927-1931) Ohmer Tate’s badge; campaign nail files for commissioners Ray Durnbaugh and James A. Ford; a Clerk of Courts Russell E. Gearhart auto title holder; a jail history; coins; Prosecuting Attorney Reynold C. Hoefflin’s handwritten ceremony speech; a poem by jail committee member Thomas E. Kelley (which he did not have enough time to read at the 1969 ceremony, according to the Gazette, so Heise read it on his behalf); seed from a red buckeye transplanted to the courthouse lawn in April 1969; a photo of Sheriff Ohmer Tate; a county map; a 1968 Gazette photo of officials signing a contract to construct the jail; a county elected officials list; and jail committee members list.

One person, Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin, was present for both ceremonies.

“It brings back memories,” he said after the ceremony. “Time flies. The last time I was in this building it was a movie theater.”

Hoefflin read the same speech he once gave as a 34-year-old prosecutor in front of a brand new jail.

“A great many persons worked long and hard for the construction of this jail,” Hoefflin said again, noting that the campaign began 20 years before that and had been rejected on the ballot four times. “The new jail is thoroughly modern with 128 persons, including 102 men, 14 women, and 12 juveniles as opposed to our old jail, which held about 45. This is a fine structure of which Greene County may be long proud, but let us hope that when the seventh jail has outlived its usefulness the people will not hesitate to replace it. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bradley and I shall do our best to keep it well filled.”

Plans are currently underway for the construction of a new jail.

Archivist Robin Heise reads the back of a Gazette photograph depicting the signing of the contract to construct a new jail in 1968.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_BWPhoto-4.jpgArchivist Robin Heise reads the back of a Gazette photograph depicting the signing of the contract to construct a new jail in 1968.

Public Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Multimedia Archivist Elise Kelly and Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan watch as Archivist Robin Heise shows the crowd an empty time capsule.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_EmptyCapsule-4.jpgPublic Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Multimedia Archivist Elise Kelly and Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan watch as Archivist Robin Heise shows the crowd an empty time capsule.

Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin reads the speech he gave at the 1969 ceremony celebrating the laying of the Greene County Jail’s cornerstone.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_FrmrPros-4.jpgFormer Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin reads the speech he gave at the 1969 ceremony celebrating the laying of the Greene County Jail’s cornerstone.

Multimedia Archivist Elise Kelly opens a 1969 Greene County map alongside Public Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan and Archivist Robin Heise.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_Map-4.jpgMultimedia Archivist Elise Kelly opens a 1969 Greene County map alongside Public Outreach Coordinator Melissa Dalton, Archivist Assistant Joan Donovan and Archivist Robin Heise.

Residents check out the items retrieved from the time capsule. Prosecutor Stephen Haller and Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin talk in the background.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_PublicLooks-4.jpgResidents check out the items retrieved from the time capsule. Prosecutor Stephen Haller and Former Prosecutor Reynold Hoefflin talk in the background.

Photos by Anna Bolton | Greene County News Greene County Archivist Robin Heise pulls out the first item, 1969 newspapers, from the copper time capsule.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_Robin-4.jpgPhotos by Anna Bolton | Greene County News Greene County Archivist Robin Heise pulls out the first item, 1969 newspapers, from the copper time capsule.

Joan Donovan, archivist assistant, unrolls a document alongside Robin Heise, archivist, in the Greene County Commissioners’ meeting room.
https://www.fairborndailyherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/50/2019/06/web1_RolledUp-4.jpgJoan Donovan, archivist assistant, unrolls a document alongside Robin Heise, archivist, in the Greene County Commissioners’ meeting room.
Fifty years later …

By Anna Bolton

abolton@aimmediamidwest.com

Our New Jail

By Thomas E. Kelley, jail committee member, 1969

Look at Sheriff Bradley,

My, isn’t he pale;

He’s still in shock

Over getting his jail.

He waited for years.

He begged and he pleaded;

Telling Greene County

How much it was needed.

He told it by pictures.

He’d tell each grand jury;

He’d tell it calmly,

Sometimes with fury.

Year after year

We needed a jail;

The place grew worse.

The story grew stale.

Then suddenly it took off

Like a great big bird;

People took it to heart,

The plea finally heard.

Today we look at it

Almost completed;

A final tax levy

Many times defeated.

I’m happy to have been

On the Jail Committee;

If the county hadn’t rallied

It would have been a pity.

So now Sheriff Bradley,

Give us a big smile;

For you finally have it

And it will be here a while.

The disgrace is gone

Down under that pile;

Greene County through

We’ll all help you smile.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.