Demolition Crews Find Time Capsule at Calvert High School

March 30, 2012

During the demolition of the old Calvert High/Calvert Middle School, the crew discovered a time capsule in the cornerstone dated 1947 and was apparently placed there sometime in 1948, about the time the school was finished being constructed. Inside the box was a timeline on the struggle to build a new high school for the students of Calvert County. The document was in an extremely fragile condition. There was also a 1948 penny inside the box. These will be turned over to the Calvert County Historical Society at Linden in Prince Frederick, to be preserved.

From 1937 through 1947, the timeline shows the struggles of those who wanted just a wing added to the present high school and finally those who wanted to build a new high school. Many of the names on the document were prominent citizens of Calvert County. Their descendents are still here today. In 1939 an effort to get the new school built was begun in earnest and roadblocks from citizens, County Commissioners, and politicians kept it from being built. Everything finally came together in 1947 and a contract was awarded to William F Sutter of Nescopeck, Pennsylvania to build the design by Maurice B Leonard.

Several people have said that there is another time capsule buried on the property, possibly near the flag pole during the late 1950’s. If you have any information on this, please contact Southern Maryland News Net at 301 200-1812 or email us at

To see a full size copy of the original document click here.

The document has been translated to text below.

The Calvert County High School

The incidence relating to the efforts of the Board of Education of Calvert County and interested citizens gene[erally] to obtain affordable facilities for the Calvert County High School […] one of the most interesting developments of recent local history.

In 1937 the Board of Education requested […] permit matching with Public Works Administration funds to construct one wing of a new masonry high school building. Though there was popular support for this project, the request was denied.

In 1939 Senator J. Wilmer Johnson sponsored and introduced an enabling act (517 of 1939) to provide $55,000, the same to be used in connection with Federal Funds to construct a new high school. This bill which became law with the support of Mr. George Owings, and Mr. Louis Goldstein in the House of Delegates named the following Building Committee to work with the Board of Education in making plans for the new school: Mrs. Elizabeth P. Wilson, Mrs. Virginia B. Lore, Mr. Arthur W. Dowell, Mr. J. Mayo Rector, Mr. Herbert S. Mead, Mr. William Parran, and Mr. Morgan Bowen. At the request of the Board of Education, Mr. Willis W. White, principal of the Calvert County High school, worked with the Building Committee and the Board of Education.

On February 4, 1940 thirty-four citizens of Calvert County including members of the

Building Committee and the Board of Education received telegrams from U. S. Senator George

H. Radcliffe, advising that the United States grant in the amount of $52,425 would be available to match county funds to construct the proposed high school building.

A small group of citizens, acting through political channels, managed to have this grant withdrawn. The Board of Education was thus stopped in its effort to obtain the school at a minimum of cost to the county.

In 1941 Senator J. Wilmer Johnson sponsored and introduced an enabling act to provide $100,000 with which to construct the proposed high school, and this bill became law. Its passage in the House of Delegates was due to the active sponsorship of Mr. George Owings.

The County Commissioners refused the request of the Board of Education to finance the construction of the high school as authorized by the 1941 law.

In 1945 the late Senator J. Frank Parran, Mr. Maurice [ ] Lusby, Jr., and Mr. John W. Hall cooperated in having an enabling act passed, authorizing an additional $262,000 to be utilized […comprehen]sive school building program, including three elementary schools for colored pupils. The tremendous increase in building costs occurring at the close of World War II rendered insufficient the funds made available by the 1941 and 1945 laws to finance the School Building Program. In 1946 the County Commissioners issued $220,000 in bonds under the 1941­1945 authorizations.

In 1947 an additional $500,000 was authorized by Senator Goldstein. Mr. James E. Hance & Mr. John W. Hall supported this bill in the House of Delegates.

Upon the urgent request of the Board of Education the County Commissioners in 1948 issued the $500,000 in bonds. [This] issue, together with the issue of 1946 for $220,000, enabled the [Board of Educ]ation to embark upon the most ambitious School Building [Program in the his]tory of Calvert County.

On July 7, 1947 the Board of Education [entered a contract] with William F. Sutter, Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, [to construct] the proposed high school and shop building for the sum of […] These buildings were designed by Mr. Maurice B. Leonard, architect.

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.


Margit Miller/Staff Writer/Editor

3 Responses to Demolition Crews Find Time Capsule at Calvert High School

  1. pat on April 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    a penny and a document. Were they trying to get a “Lamest Time Capsule Ever” award or something?

    • Happy on April 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

      This was in the late 1947. I am sure time capsules of that era were not thought of as they are today. They wanted something showing how much they went through to get this school constructed.

    • Melissa on April 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Not really that lame. My wonderful grandmother is mentioned in the letter and I never knew that she was on this committee. History is not lame to everyone.