Elcho Historical Society works to preserve items from 1968 time capsule found during school renovation workSubmitted: 08/10/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Elcho Historical Society works to preserve items from 1968 time capsule found during school renovation work
ELCHO - Sue Mackowski thinks of the items spread across her dining room table as pieces of a bigger picture.

"It's another piece to the puzzle," Mackowski said.

Old newspapers with a top story about the Czech president, a 1966 yearbook, and a badly damaged film reel sit in her Elcho home, largely by chance.

"It was literally a plastic bag full of things from the mid-'60s," Mackowski said, widening her eyes.

That bag came from near the cornerstone of the 1968 wing of the Elcho school building. Crews found it while working on an $18 million renovation project, which started back in 2017. 

In addition to the papers and film reel, the bag included football game programs, a Life magazine focused on the Vietnam War, and pictures of the 1968 Elcho school building addition.

The district called the Elcho Historical Society and asked if Mackowski's one-year-old group wanted to take it.

"We absolutely don't want to lose sight of this," Machowski said. "We want other people to see these things."

The historical society thinks the film reel, which is covered with rust and water spots, is too damaged to recover, but a class picture from the late 1960s offers a glimpse of the era's style and a look at people still living in the area.

"There's old people that I knew that were just delightful people, and I think they should be known," said Otto Tiegs, a 1956 Elcho graduate. "The history of them should be put out there."

Tiegs, who is a historical society board member, grew up near Elcho. He's excited for the time capsule's discovery, but he worries that Elcho's current students might not care much about its contents.

That's where new board member Greg Mejak comes in. The Cleveland native retired and built a home in Elcho, moving in just four months ago. Mejak, who says he was never a "history buff" growing up, already asked the school district to get kids involved in the historical society by having them design a logo.

"The final stage of your life, you should be passing on what you learned, the knowledge and wisdom, to future generations so they can build on that," Mejak said.

The group knows that it will take more discoveries and excitement to get younger generations to see the big picture, but Mackowski says this is a good first step.

"This is your heritage," Mackowski said. "And this is something that you'll be able to pass on to your kids and your grandkids."

The school renovation should be finished later this year. When it is, the district plans to bury its own time capsule from 2018.

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