A Trip Back in Time for Millis Elementary School

J.D. O’Gara
Time Capsule Planted in Cornerstone of Clyde F. Brown Is Opened
In a public event on March 22, 2019, an acetate scroll was the final item, carefully pulled from a time capsule unearthed from a granite cornerstone of the Clyde F. Brown Elementary School opened in 1954. The scroll contained the names of the incoming students for the 1954-1955 year. All but the Kindergartners had signed their own names.
Issue Date: 
April, 2019
Article Body: 

Little girls were dressed in poodle skirts and ponytails, little boys in plaid shirts or white t-shirts and jeans, greaser-style. Spirit day harkened back to 1954, the year that the brand-new Millis Elementary School, later to be named for Millis School Principal Clyde F. Brown, was built and opened. As the classes filed in, the gymnasium buzzed with excitement. Today, March 22, 2019, would be the day the time capsule, planted behind a granite cornerstone of the building some 65 years ago and unearthed on Friday, March 1st by members of the Millis Historical Commission, would be opened by three former students, Ruth Harcowitz, Chrissy (Wilson) Hana and Jill (Wildman) Kuhlman, first graders in the 1954-1955 school year.
“We’ve been working up to this event,” said Clyde Brown Principal Jason Phelps, of the students, who were fascinated by the time capsule and the mystery of its contents.
“It’s such a delightful way to bring history alive to the kids in the school and their teachers,” added Millis Superintendent Nancy Gustafson.
With cameras flashing and a projector showing the whole process, members of the Millis Historical Commission delicately opened the time capsule, and then the three former students took turns carefully removing its contents, which included, in order of removal:
A proposal for the original grade school
A warrant article dated June 9, 1953 for the funding of the new elementary school
A letter from Massachusetts Governor Christian Herder, who lived in Millis, dated January 21, 1954, congratulating Millis residents on the new school
A letter from U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower dated June 1, 1954, congratulating the town on the new school
The town report from the fiscal year ending 1953
A copy of the local newspaper at the time, The County Recorder
An activities book entitled The Workbook for the New Roundabout, an Alice and Jerry activity book published by Roe Publishing Company
Arithmetic We Use, a first-grade workbook of the time
According to Nathan Maltinsky, Chair of the Millis Historical Commission, the documents unearthed will likely be housed in display cases at the Niagara 1 Firehouse, which is nearing completed restoration and recently was opened to the public through an open house organized by Millis High School senior Lily Denman.
Phelps adds that the current Clyde Brown students will be creating their own time capsule, and some special community events for this spring are planned by a subcommittee of the school council.