CUYAHOGA FALLS — The year 1969 saw many major events nationally and internationally. Woodstock. The moon landing. The Beatles released "Abbey Road," the last album where all four participated. Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

Cuyahoga Falls also celebrated an event 50 years ago: the opening of DeWitt Elementary School, marked by students and staff carrying books from the Broad Street School, which was later demolished, to the newer building.

“That’s what everyone remembers,” Catherine Perrow, principal at DeWitt, said of former staff and students who shared their memories of that time. “Carrying the books from one school to another. They all mentioned that.”

The Broad Street School was located where DeWitt’s parking lot and playground are now, Perrow said. In the 1960s, that school’s playground and some nearby homes were demolished to make room for DeWitt.

“DeWitt was an innovative design at the time,” Perrow said. “It had air conditioning, which was crazy at the time.”

The school also had flexible walls, which was a new concept then.

To celebrate the school’s golden anniversary, the students have been working on projects connected to the school’s milestone event, Perrow said. On May 3, the school will have an assembly for the students.

On May 4, the school will host an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. for all former staff, students and their families. The classrooms will not be open to the public, but visitors are welcome to roam the halls to check out the students’ projects, and to go to the gym to see memorabilia from DeWitt alums and staff.

Perrow said she also encouraged those who attended the former Broad Street Elementary School to come.

“Hopefully we will see a lot of teachers and staff here, and a lot of students come back to celebrate,” Perrow said. “While we are celebrating DeWitt, we want to honor the memory of Broad Street School.”

The centerpiece of DeWitt’s courtyard is the sign from the Broad Street School, that had been salvaged when the school was demolished.

One thing the school would like to do is unearth a time capsule built around the time of DeWitt’s opening and display the contents for the open house. There’s just one hitch.

“We really have no idea where it is,” Perrow said.

Perrow said she believes that the time capsule was buried in one spot for photo opportunities, then reburied elsewhere later. The time capsule was created and buried by the fifth-graders in Margaret Quirk’s class (then Margaret Woods). Quirk and one of her former students, Peggy “Margaret” Halter, have been working with the school to try to piece together where the time capsule is located.

“It’s been neat to see them reconnect,” Perrow said.

So far, however, the time capsule’s location has remained elusive. It is believed to have been buried somewhere near where the flagpole is.

“Unfortunately, there is no record where the time capsule is buried,” Perrow said. “We have been on a treasure hunt.”

Officials from the city engineer’s department even tried to come out and help, using a metal detector, she said. At one point, the detector even picked up something, but a dig in the area turned up nothing.

Still, she is determined to find it.

“It’s my hope that through some miracle, we will have it for next weekend,” Perrow said. “But time won’t stop us from looking.”

If anyone has memorabilia to share or information about the time capsule, call Perrow at 330-926-3802, or email cf_perrowc@cfalls.org.

 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC.