Guest speaker Michael Thomas, manager of Walk Life, will offer insight on the area’s drug problem and what’s being done about it.
But history took priority at the club’s October meeting when the program topic focused on the discovery of a 1924 time capsule and its contents found in Cadiz in October 2015.
Guest speakers Sue Adams, president of the Harrison County Genealogical Society, and Carole Spiker of the Harrison County Historical Society brought several items from the time capsule and presented a Power Point of photos to share the story of how it was discovered accidentally through old pictures of the former Custer Hotel and Theater at Main and Market streets in Cadiz.
As that building neared demolition, an effort to focus on its history specifically and the block in which it stood in general produced a photo that was the catalyst for retrieving the time capsule, an 8-by-8-by-15-inch copper box soldered shut and despite being small was nonetheless heavy and “jam packed with items.”
The photo was of a woman on a ladder placing the time capsule in the wall, a woman identified as Ida Mae Smith. Near her was her father, E.M. Long, who built the hotel that opened in 1925. The festivities drew quite a crowd during a period in history of prosperity, they noted.
“He built all over Harrison County and part of Jefferson County,” Adams said of the man whose motto was “True greatness is to serve.”
“When we found out they had buried a time capsule, we were quite anxious to get in and save it because had we not known, it would have been in the dust and debris,” Spiker said, noting Chris Clark Miller, Long’s great-granddaughter, had the honor of extracting the time capsule.
Spiker said she was so excited to learn about the time capsule, she called the Ohio Historical Society and spoke with a man in the archives department for advice on how to proceed.
His response? Wear protective gloves since the contents might not be in good shape and falling apart and don’t be disappointed if there’s little in the box.
About 25 people gathered for the time capsule’s opening, the contents of which had been protected by Merino wool that Harrison County was famous for. Merino sheep constituted the county’s main industry prior to coal.
“We’re forever thankful to whoever decided what went in there. It was an exciting evening, and we were glad the historical director was wrong when he said we wouldn’t find things, because we found treasures,” Spiker said.
Everything in the time capsule was in pristine condition save a lump of coal from the Short Creek Coal Co., which “just kind of fell apart.”
The contents included copies of the Cadiz Republican, the Freeport Press and the Democrat Sentinel, each of which carried a list of contents; records of who held county offices from 1813-1924; a roster of the Cadiz Band, the town band and originator of the idea for the time capsule as a way to honor Long for all he had done for the community and all the buildings he had built, including the Harrison County Courthouse; a railroad token; a pack of Lucky Strikes cigarettes; information on all the churches; and a Cadiz directory that offered a glimpse via advertisements of businesses.
An interesting find concerned information on African-American organizations in town, including a Masonic lodge and Eastern Star order. There also was information on William H. Lucas who was “born a free black man in Virginia, and his parents brought him to Cadiz as a 6-year-old, knowing he would be educated,” Adams said of Lucas, who was born in 1850. “He was the first black man to graduate from Cadiz High School,” Adams said, noting he was elected clerk of Cadiz in 1882 and held that position for 60 consecutive years. “He was re-elected 29 times, and he is in ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not,’” she said.
The time capsule also included a piece of gutter as E.M. Long and Sons made gutters and were famous all over the country for them; pictures of Long and his family; and a list of all the teachers for the 1924-25 school year in Harrison County.
“Back at this time there were 191 schools in Harrison County,” Adams said. “A lot of these were one-room schools, and there were 178 teachers — 46 men and 132 women.”
President Iris Craig presided at the meeting where Carlotta Jordan, membership chair, inducted Trudy Wilson as a new member.
On behalf of the club, Craig presented a check for $1,000 to guests Lts. Erik and Barri Vazquez-Muhs of the Salvation Army of Steubenville. The money will aid hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
Marge Bedortha and Eleanor Weiss served as hostesses.