Charles Carroll cornerstone reveals yearbooks, newspapers and more from 1929

UNION MILLS — “No one knows that’s inside here,” Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, told the crowd of more than two dozen gathered in the shade beneath a white tarp at the Union Mills Homestead on Saturday morning.

In his hands was a manila envelope, inside of which were the contents found in the cornerstone of the former Charles Carroll Elementary School, which had been demolished in April, and the source of the mystery those in attendance had come to see unravel.


“It was passed from the guys that took down the building right to our project manager and put into an envelope and this is the first time we have seen any of the contents,” Wantz said.

Flanked by Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, both of whom donned white protective gloves to avoid damaging any fragile contents, and Gainor Davis, executive director of the Historical Society of Carroll County, Wantz reached inside the contemporary envelope to remove three smaller envelopes, well preserved for almost a century spent in a hollow stone.


A group came out Tuesday to walk the halls of the former Charles Carroll Elementary School.

“It says laying of cornerstone of new Charles Carroll High School and fourth annual May festival and pageant,” Frazier read aloud from the first age-tanned document pulled from the envelopes. “Thursday, May 9, 1929.”

There was a pupil list for the school year of 1928-1929, a yearbook listing all six of the students in what was then Charles Carroll High School, several newspapers — The Evening Sun, Carroll County Times and Democratic Advocate — from May, 1929, and the first volume of The Brown and Buff.

The Brown and Buff was published monthly by the Charles Carroll High School of Carroll County, Maryland,” Wantz read from the document.

“Fifteen cents per copy,” Frazier noted. “A dollar a year.”

Being in the presence of that history, and hearing those dates, was a treat for Deborah Boone Miller, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, and her mother Norma Boone, of Westminster, both of whom have strong memories of their time at Charles Carroll once it became an elementary school in 1962.

“My mom worked as a teacher’s aid there and also was secretary to Dr. Lockard, the principal there in the mid-60s. And I attended Charles Carroll School from grades one through six,” Miller said. “It was really, really exciting to see those things come out and know they were put in by people who shared that school in the early days.”

Guthrie will finish his eight-year term on June 30 before he begins a position at Sussex Technical School District in Delaware on July 1. Steven Lockard, whose contract was signed April 25, will take over for Guthrie this summer.

The historical society was also thrilled to have such a well preserved source of documents, Davis said, even if some were so brittle with age that care would have to be taken while archiving them.

“One of the things cornerstones do, if they survive, which in this case they have,” she said, “is the ability to see these things from the past, to find out what was important to the people of a community. It is extremely helpful when you’re trying to piece together the past.”

“All of this will be categorized and then they are going to duplicate it in a way that folks will be able to actually see, pick it up and read some of these things,” Wantz added, noting that he would like to have elements of the old Charles Carroll installed in the new community center planned for the lot where it once stood.

“This is a part of my mission to make sure that when this community center is built, the history doesn’t go away. A new building doesn’t necessarily mean new, I want the history of Charles Carroll School to remain in the new building.”

And maybe, Wantz said, there will be an opportunity to do more than just preserve some area history. There could be a chance to create some.

“We saved the cornerstone and I am hopeful we will be able to use that same cornerstone, with new dates on it, and then create our own time capsule if you will,” he said. “Who knows,100 years from now or whatever, if someone wants to open it and see the things that are currently going on, it will be amazing, just like what we saw here today.”

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