LOCK HAVEN - After 57 years in hiding, newspaper clippings, a church bulletin and other items saw the light of day again.
A time capsule that was encased in the cornerstone of the former McGhee Elementary School was opened on Monday by the Lock Haven University Foundation.
The Foundation purchased the property at 115 W. Fourth St., Lock Haven, earlier this year and started demolition proceedings last week.
That's when the time capsule was found in the cornerstone.
Those in attendance included the wife, son and grandson of the man for whom the building was named when it was built in 1954 - Dr. Saylor J. McGhee.
Son Brooke McGhee said his father was born in 1872 and graduated from medical college in 1898 before working for a drug store in the Philadelphia area. Before long, Brooke said, his father opened up his own practice in Mill Hall shortly before World War I. He moved that practice to West Fourth Street, where he and his wife, Dorothy "Tommy," raised their eight children. Interestingly, "Tommy" taught health and physical education in the elementary school for 23 years.
But, it was his 25 to 30 years worth of work as president of the Lock Haven School Board that prompted the district to name the building after Dr. McGhee.
"I'm anxious to see what's in there myself," Brooke said before he, his wife and son Jeffrey opened up the cornerstone.
Inside the hollowed-out cinder was a smaller brass or copper box.
One by one, the family retrieved items.
The first was a bulletin from the First Church of Christ in Lock Haven dated June 26, 1955. In that bulletin, Dr. McGhee was pictured as one of the elders.
Then came out two copies of The Lock Haven Express, dated June 28 and June 29, 1955.
The older newspaper included a front-page story on the dedication of the McGhee school set for the next day, with state Sen. George P. Stevenson as the keynote speaker.
The other newspaper carried a front-page story on McGhee school opening for public inspection.
Also included in the box were a piece of a keychain, a pocket knife, 30 cents worth of pennies and nickels (including a buffalo-head nickel) and the program from the school's dedication ceremonies.
Afterward, the dozen or so people in attendance poured over the prized possessions, taking particular note of the dated ads in the local newspaper.
The group included Keystone Central School District Superintendent Kelly Hastings; Lock Haven Mayor Rick Vilello; Clinton County Commissioners Jeff Snyder, Pete Smeltz and Joel Long; and Mitzi Gallagher, legislative aide to state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven. Foundation Executive Director Keith Barrows said the cornerstone and the time capsule will be given to the McGhee family.
"It's all family history and a part of the school," he said.
Jeffrey said the family will likely keep the items for at least the next year or so before possibly donating them to the Heisey Museum or back to the Foundation for the public to view.
The school, which was completed in 1955, will be demolished and left as a vacant lot in the near future. The Foundation will then lease the property back to the university.
The school had a capacity for 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and was a one-story steel frame structure with brick veneer and concrete masonry, with concrete floor slabs.
The school district sold the school to the Foundation for $150,000 two months ago.