KWHS 1964 Time Capsule Releases Its Secrets
The Casper Star-Tribune declared on the front page on Sunday, April 12, 1964, that President Lyndon Johnson just announced Russian troops were leaving Cuba.
On the back page of the front section was the invitation to the cornerstone dedication of the new $2.9 million Kelly Walsh High School.
Fifty-two years later, the news and the school came full circle when a time capsule -- a rectangular copper box soldered shut -- from that dedication was opened by teacher Duane Reimer in front of scores of cheering teachers and other staff at the school on Friday.
The box with the names of three people involved in the construction of the original building -- "John Fesnock - Supt.," "David Farrar - Inspector," "Porter Daleney - Plumbing Supt." -- was shiny and unfazed after 62 years. The soldering perfectly kept out moisture.
"A rock," Reimer declared as he pulled out the first object -- a small block of Wyoming jade that had been polished on two sides.
After the "is that all?" feeling passed, he withdrew the Star-Tribune with LBJ's announcement. Reimer then showed the back page with the KWHS cornerstone announcement that elicited a huge round of applause.
He gave these items to Assistant Principal Amy Rose, and kept unloading the box:
- A booklet, "Words to the Wise for Wyoming School Boards," which drew a few snickers from the crowd.
- A picture of the Natrona County School District No. 2 board of trustees in 1964. (Districts No. 1 and No. 2 merged in the early 1970s.) More snickers.
- A Natrona County High School Mustangs handbook. Boos.
- A picture of the school's namesake Kelly Walsh.
- A book from the local Masonic Lodge.
- A 1963 Ben Franklin silver half dollar and a 1964 John F. Kennedy half dollar. (President Kennedy was assassinated the previous November.)
- Two pages of the Natrona County High School's curriculum.
- A pin for honor students from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
For years, there were rumors of a time capsule somewhere on the school property, possibly near the granite cornerstone set in 1964. The rumors grew as the old building came down to make way for the new one.
The box was found Wednesday after crews removed the cornerstone set in 1964, Principal Brad Diller said.
After the informal ceremony, Rose and Diller set up the copper box and spread out the contents on a table.
It was all adult establishment.
Conspicuously absent from the mementos were pictures of any prospective students. Likewise, there were no artistic or other contributions from students.
Nor were there any indications of anything happening in popular culture in 1964: No Elvis. No Beatles. No Stones. No Motown. No Warhol. No "Bonanza." No "Bikini Beach." No "My Fair Lady."
Diller acknowledged that dearth, and wants to do something different for a cornerstone for the $86.3 million KWHS complex under construction.
"Okay, so what can we leave so 50 or 70 years out people will be able to find a time capsule and go, 'oh this is pretty special,'" Diller said.
We look back on what those who packed the time capsule about the technology and how they printed materials, he said.
Diller then mused what might happen if a new time capsule will have some piece of technology or example from pop culture that would get the same reaction 50 years from now of as the the pictures of the people running the show: "'Oh man, those guys were old school.'"