A fabulous find and new beginnings

Left: When Maintenance Tech Andy Brown touched the tin lid, a treasure trove from 1889 spilled out.
Right: Archivist Jeanine Wine ’76 is uncovering its mysteries and making connections.

The cornerstone was one of the last relics removed from the Administration Building on College Avenue, taken to Neher Maintenance Center. It sat on a pallet for several days until eagle-eyed Andy happened to view it from a unique angle and immediately thought there might be a time capsule.

When he touched the lid, it fell open to reveal a trove of items from 1889, the year Roanoke Classical Seminary founded by the United Brethren Church in Roanoke, Indiana, moved to North Manchester and became North Manchester College.

University Archivist Jeanine Wine ’76  quickly gathered the contents into an archival storage box and hustled them over to the archives area of Funderburg Library, both to see what shape they were in and starting the painstaking work of finding connections.

There were hand-written faculty and student lists, and a tightly curled photo of a young lady whose name matched one on the student list.

Another name immediately stood out. Jeanine had been contacted a while ago by family members who wanted to confirm that Silvanues L. Heeter had ever attended Manchester. That day, she had solid proof: His name was at the bottom of one of the lists, possibly written in his own hand.

One of many favorite finds connects us with national 1889 history. The Voice, one of several newspapers in the time capsule, declared “Prohibition’s Success.”

While also teaching, Manchester’s first president, David N. Howe, was also leading building crews. His family and faith are reflected in the time capsule’s contents.

“As we look at these items, it is an opportunity to honor Manchester’s rich history and recognize that it is the people who helped establish our legacy. President David Howe – who rolled up his sleeves and led construction crews – and generations of students, faculty, staff and alumni make us what we are today, and what we will be for generations to come,” said President Dave McFadden ’82.

And we are again rolling up our sleeves:

  • Alexis Young, assistant vice president for facilities and auxiliary service, and Brady Forman, grounds supervisor, designed a green space where the Administration Building used to be. The plan includes fire pits, seating, concrete cornhole and ladder ball games, newly planted grass and reconfigured sidewalks. The fountain is being refurbished and will again become a focal point at that end of campus. Except for the lighting and fountain work, most of this will be done by Manchester workers.
  • Elements from the Administration Building and its Chime Tower are being incorporated into the Chime Tower that will be built on the Manchester University Mall over the summer. We were so moved by the time capsule discovery that we decided to place one under the new tower. The official groundbreaking is May 13 and the dedication at Homecoming is Oct. 22 – when we will make an important announcement about Manchester’s bold new future. We hope you’ll save the date!