Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

June 12, 2014

W.H. Stevenson time capsule opened

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — RANSOMVILLE — Newspapers, notes from local groups, and daily items from 1939 were brought out Wednesday from their storage space for the first time in 75 years at W.H. Stevenson Elementary. 

Wilson Central School District superintendent Michael Wendt and Stevenson principal Michael Cancilla took the items out of the time capsule one by one in front of a packed gymnasium. 

Some of the items included envelopes labeled “Information for our future generations” from various churches. The items will be taken to historical societies for safe opening, Wendt said. 

Other items included an ink drawing of the school, a letter describing the laying of the cornerstone of Stevenson on May 25, 1939, copies of The Ransomville News, a mercury-head dime, a carpenter’s pencil likely belonging to one of the builders, a roster of men in the infantry at Fort Niagara, and information from local groups, including Boy Scout Troop 27, the American Legion Post, Ransomville Baptist Church, Ransomville Free Methodist Church and Ransomville Wesleyan Methodist Church. 

Also included was a copy of the Niagara Gazette dated May 26, 1939, bearing the headline “Police Smash White Slave Ring Here.” 

A man who was around for the school’s construction and attended the first classes held there was present for the capsule opening. John Burmaster, a lifelong Ransomville resident, now a self-decribed “snow bird,” attended Stevenson starting in 1940. 

“There were four classrooms when I started here, with two grades in each classroom and one teacher for each class,” Burmaster said. 

Burmaster said he is now neighbors in Lockport with his former principal and seventh- and eighth-grade teacher. 

Wednesday was also Stevenson’s chicken barbecue and car cruise, which attracted plenty of visitors. 

The school will close for classes at the end of June. 

The artifacts from the capsule are currently displayed at Stevenson. 

Contact reporter Kaley Lynch at 439-9222 ext. 6245 or tweet to @Lynchie17

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