Time capsule reveals a cache of vintage items
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — Origin Family Homebuilders unveiled a hidden cache of items found in a time capsule recovered from the former Grant School on Jan. 16, at the Portage County Public Library.
The school was demolished in November of 2018 to make way for the contractor’s new Forth TownHomes project. Origin donated the contents of the capsule to the Portage County Historical Society.
“We took ownership of the property where the old Grant Kindergarten School was located,” said Jeff Rice, Origin Homebuilders. “In the process of demolishing the old school, we were made aware there was a time capsule.”
Inside the capsule, which was buried away inside the school during construction in 1958, was a plethora of newspapers, Stevens Point city travel guides, educational literature and more. There was also an interesting school photo, presumably of the school’s student body.
“This is cool,” Rice said as he pulled out the photo. “We’ve got a graduation photo. It says 1958 on the front.”
Other noteworthy mentions included a city travel guide titled “Stevens Point: A good place to live” and newspaper headlines like “Ike believes economic upturn not yet certain.”
There were also academic report cards and a curriculum handbook from PJ Jacobs High School printed in 1958.
“We think this is a very cool opportunity to share the time capsule with the community,” Rice explained. “Schools are special things, there are plenty of people who have a memory or feeling tied up in a school building, to see that go away can seem a little sad, but in this way, we are able to preserve and keep the memory of those places alive.”
The home building team understands the nostalgia and sentimentality of the capsule’s reserves. Some of the past students from the school were in the audience during the ceremonial opening.
“Hopefully, you will see names of people you know or find someone you are related to,” Rice said. “And let them know, this is out there in the world. Come check it out.”
The Portage County Historical Society will display the items for public viewing before archiving them. Origin also provided the plaque previously mounted on Grant School to the group.
“It shows the school board members and who was involved in construction at that time,” Rice said.
The Forth TownHomes project is already underway at the prior site of the school. Some units will be ready as soon as the spring of 2019. Construction of the living spaces is expected to take several years to fully complete.
Stevens Point residents were excited to see city history up close at the event, giving them a chance to connect with the past. History buffs and curious citizens alike now have more area artifacts to study and enjoy.