Manchester time capsule
Contents of the time capsule from 1889 include a list of Manchester students studying education at that time and multiple newspapers featuring stories on Prohibition and temperance.
Photo by Nate Corder

Time Capsule Discovered in Cornerstone of Demolished Ad Building

Sam France

Earlier this fall while the Administration Building was being demolished, longtime maintenance technician Andy Brown made a startling discovery: he found a time capsule from 1889 in the cornerstone of what was Bumgerdner Hall.

The cornerstone was on the outside of the east end structure of the Ad building before three structures were connected into one. Brown had been watching the demolition from the stairs close by and noticed a section of the cornerstone was a different color from the rest. He got closer and touched it, making the lid open and some contents fall out. The container was a smaller tin box that had an impressive number of different papers inside.

All of the contents are from 1889, the year the Church of the Brethren came to North Manchester. There is a lot of rich history with the different artifacts. There are several items that are connected to the United Church of the Brethren and Manchester’s first president David N. Howe.

Jeanine Wine, librarian and archivist at Manchester, has learned a lot about the university’s past from these materials. “The town of Roanoke started the Roanoke Classical Seminary in the mid-1800s and eventually David N. Howe became the president,” she said. The Roanoke Classical Seminary was mainly for people who wanted to become priests, ministers, or rabbis. Howe might very well have been part of the prohibition party back in the 1800s. “He has the vision to move the school to North Manchester because of political differences,” Wine said.

An interesting find was the possibly self-handwritten name of Silvanues L. Heeter. He was an assistant superintendent for schools. His family has been tracing relatives’ education history. “Years ago, I was contacted by a family looking for their uncle to see if he went to Manchester because they were tracing their family’s education history,” Wine said.

There is also a list of 50 students that were attending Manchester at the time, and they all were studying to become teachers. There is a woman on the list by the name of Maude Quivey, who was once considered the second greatest pianist at the time in America. She came back to teach at Manchester.

There were multiple newspapers found including “The Voice” claiming “Prohibition’s Success.” “In the capsule, there were several newspapers that deal with temperance,” Wine said. Another one was “The Highway of Holiness,” published by the Holiness Association United Brethren in Christ. There were two small books outlining the church’s government. There was also a postage stamp, a program from the Philophronean Literary Society, a program from an organ concert, and a photo of Fern Williams, who was also listed on the student roster.

President Dave McFadden commented on the discovery. “We celebrate our history in all sorts of ways and finding this time capsule says that those who came before us did too,” he said. “The student, faculty, and staff list that were included were written by hand, for example, including those lists shows they valued the same things we do today.” McFadden also said that there will be another time capsule included in the chime tower being built in the mall.