Published Online: September 17, 2003
Published in Print: September 17, 2003, as Take Note

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Back in Time

Students and staff members at Cottage Grove High School in Oregon recently stepped back into the past when the school opened a 63-year-old time capsule.

At a ceremony this month to commemorate the opening of the new $29 million, 880-student high school, administrators opened the compact copper box. It had been buried in the masonry of the school's old building by teachers and now- long-grown students. The contents revealed a glimpse of local life at the brink of the United States' involvement in World War II.

Five yellowed newspapers, two of them now defunct, detailed the war raging in 1940. "ALLIES BOAST NAVAL WIN," said the Eugene Register-Guard. "ROYALTY FLEES GERMAN BOMBS," screamed The Oregonian.

Several 60-year-old-plus textbooks filled the box, as did an 1871 teaching certificate, a 75-cent bill from a plumbing and sheet-metal company for soldering the time capsule shut, and black-and-white photos of the students, faculty, and staff at what was then Cottage Grove Union High School.

The 1940 students looked similar to their 2003 counterparts, said Assistant Superintendent Colt Gill, except, he added wryly, "there was a little less piercing then."

The box had been buried in the western corner of the then-new school to celebrate its opening in 1940. The 2,900-student South Lane School District this year closed the aging school to high school students and built the new school a mile away.

Another time capsule will take its place in the foyer of the new high school next summer. A student committee is now assessing what will go into the much larger box, Mr. Gill said.

Among the items under consideration are photos commemorating the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a computer disk, and a toga reminiscent of the movie "National Lampoon's Animal House." Several scenes from the 1978 movie were filmed in Cottage Grove, about 20 miles south of Eugene.

—Rhea R. Borja

Vol. 23, Issue 3, Page 3

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