The document read " To whom it may concern..." "That would be me," Kent Keller said on Saturday at the closing ceremony of the 1921 Mantorville school. A time capsule was discovered inside the cornerstone by John Olive two weeks before. Its much anticipated contents were revealed as the grand finale. With Keller, is MaryAnn Bucher on behalf of the Dodge County Historical Society.
By Gretta Becay
About 130 people attended an event to say goodbye to the 1921 portion of the old Kasson-Mantorville Intermediate School Sept 14, 2013.
Dodge County is purchasing the school with the condition that the 1921 section be demolished before the deal is closed.
The county plans to move administrative offices into the remainder of the structure after some remodeling. The property also gives the county much more parking space.
Mayor Chuck Bradford said, "The good news is, we are not losing the entire structure, we are not losing county services, we are not losing the oldest working courthouse in the state, and we are not losing a valued partner in our community."
The building's current owners, Kent and Carole Keller, hosted the ceremony, organized by Jane and John Olive.
Kent said the people that built the building knew it would eventually be torn down; therefore, they left a message in the cornerstone.
After the speeches, Kent and John laid the 1921 limestone corner stone on its side and using a chrome-plated pry bar, carefully opened the metal box time capsule inside the stone block.
Wearing gloves, Kent pulled out the revealed papers and read portions of them to the waiting crowd.
Included were the high school annual, published by the senior class of 1921, and information that the cornerstone was laid in June 1921. The building was built using bricks from Roanoke, Ill, Mantorville limestone, and Portland cement.
"To whom it may concern," began one document, which gave information about the two bond issues needed to build the school. A $41,000 bond approved in March 1920 and an additional $18,000 bond approved the following spring provided the majority of the financing for the building. The first bond passed with only 10 dissenting votes and the second passed by a clear majority.
The writer talked about the high costs associated with construction at the time.
The program from the school's groundbreaking ceremony was included, mentioning the elementary children singing.
Kent turned over the contents to Mary Ann Bucher from the Dodge County Historical Society. Experts in that organization will preserve the papers for posterity.
From students graduating in 2014 (who attended the middle school before they were transferred to the new Kasson school) to 99-year-old Maxine Harris who graduated in 1932, the building brought back memories for those attending the ceremony.
Former county commissioner Klaus Alberts, class of 1950 - three boys, nine girls -remembers a prank the girls played on one of the teachers. They put a tack on the teacher's chair and after he sat on it, "He was stormin'," said Alberts.
"One of them ran to the girls' restroom but that didn't stop the teacher; he ran in after her."
Janice and Don Torgelson remembered a prank from the 1950's when they attended the school. There were eight servings of butterscotch pudding for the home economics class set out on a table in the cafeteria and someone gobbled up them all.
"It's still a mystery who ate them," said Don.
Janice said she lived close enough to the school that she could walk home for lunch so she couldn't eat in the cafeteria every day. But, on the days the cook - Mrs. Bradford - made barbecue, it was so good all the students ate there. The meal was sort of like a sloppy joe, explained Janice; hamburger and barbecue sauce served on a bun.
Discipline was stronger then, said Don.
He remembers the 'spat board' kept in the principal's office.
Ironically, the paddle was made by students in a shop class, said Don. It was a smoothed board with holes in it. He personally never felt its sting, he said, but kids that did then had bragging rights.
Bricks and limestone blocks that can be preserved during the demolition are being offered for sale to interested people. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Proceeds from the sale are being donated to the Kasson-Mantorville schools activities department.