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COBWEB CORNERS: 10 years left on West's time capsule

By Mel McFarland

        In the walls of old West Junior (now West Middle School), as well as in those of two other junior highs that opened in 1924, is a “Century Chest,” to be opened in 2024.
       At West, the chest of relics was placed in the arch of the westernmost doorway behind the keystone. South Junior was the first of the three to open, on Sept. 25, 1924. The contents of its box included several local newspapers announcing the death of Presidents Warren G. Harding and Woodrow Wilson, as well as information about the elementary schools that would feed into South. The box was prepared by students from four of those schools: Lowell, Liller, Helen Hunt and Ivywild. Four students were selected to place the box in the stone prepared for it during the ceremony.
       A few days later, a similar ceremony was held for West Junior. Its feeder elementaries were Arensdale, Whittier, Buena Vista, Midland, Washington, Bristol and Roosevelt. The chest included newspapers like those put in South Junior's, along with information about the history of Colorado City and its schools.
       However, there was something particularly unique about West Junior. When the Bancroft School had been built some 40 years earlier by Colorado City School District 1, a chest of relics had been buried on its grounds. That school building, located where Bancroft Park is now, was used until 1923. When the Century Chest idea was brought up for the new junior highs being built by Colorado Springs School District 11, former District 1 personnel remembered the old Bancroft chest. But as the West ceremony date drew close, its location was proving elusive.
       Around the same time, the ceremony at North Junior was held. Students from Garfield, Bristol, Columbia, Steele, Roosevelt, Papeton, Roswell and Curtis schools were represented. Papeton, Roswell and Curtis were communities north of Colorado Springs that were District 11. Roosevelt School, when it was built, had been called the Roswell School, but when that area was annexed into Colorado Springs it was renamed.
       As to the original chest at the Bancroft school, I have been unable to learn what happened to it. There are items in the collection at the Old Colorado City Historical Center to suggest that it was found, but not until later. Perhaps there are readers who might know the answer. I also do not know if South Junior's chest was saved when that school was razed many years ago.

(Posted 10/3/14; Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

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