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Found at site of old Calvert Middle School

By LAURA BUCKStaff writer

A time capsule found at the sight of the old Calvert Middle School in Prince Frederick revealed that even 60 years ago, building a new school was not without complications.

The time capsule was brought to the Calvert County Historical Society on Friday by Calvert Director of General Services Wilson Freeland who explained that it was found in the cornerstone of the building, which is currently being demolished.

The time capsule was a copper box containing a 1948 penny; an un-signed or dated document describing some of the building of the school; and a small piece of rusted metal that is currently being examined at the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory in St. Leonard.

Construction for the old building, once known as Calvert County High School, began in 1947 and students started attending the school in 1949.

Calvert County Historical Society President Guffrie Smith said it was unknown what year the high school became a middle school.

What the historical society found most intriguing was the document found in the time capsule, which was transcribed by Kirsti Uunila, the county’s historic preservation planner for the Department of Planning and Zoning.

The document starts referencing “the incidence relating to the efforts of the Board of Education of Calvert County and interested citizens gen[erally] to obtain affordable facilities for the Calvert County High School [...] one of the most interesting developments of recent local history.”

“I thought the word ‘incidence’ was a little unusual,” Freeland said.

The document goes on to say that the county commissioners at that time initially refused to fund the building but eventually issued $220,000 in bonds for it in 1946.

The document said $500,000 was authorized by the state for the building’s construction in 1947 and the commissioners issued another $500,000 in 1948.

“The plant constructed under this contract will make it possible to offer a suitable and comprehensive education program to the secondary pupils of the county,” read the last paragraph in the document.

The members of the historical society said there seemed to be very little press coverage of the school’s construction in the archives of the former Calvert Independent.

“It seems downplayed,” Historical Society Office Manager Leila Boyer remarked. “Maybe the editorial staff didn’t agree with it.”

Boyer also wondered if state and county construction funding came with any type of requirements and said she hoped someone who was still alive and knew of the process in the 1940s came forward. “This would be a very interesting problem to solve,” she said.

Freeland said he thinks whoever manufactured the cornerstone also manufactured to copper box due to its placement.

“It was a surprise for us so we’re happy to bring this little piece of history forward,” he said.

The time capsule will remain at the Calvert County Historical Society in Prince Frederick.