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100-year-old time capsule discovered at Brosnan building to be opened at BOE meeting


by Joanne Kountourakis | Wed, Jun 19 2024

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The Northport-East Northport Union Free School District is celebrating a major milestone this year: the 100th anniversary of the William J. Brosnan Building, formerly known as the Laurel Avenue School. 

This Thursday, the district will unveil a time capsule that has been sealed for the past century, originally placed within the Laurel Avenue School during a cornerstone-laying ceremony. This historic event will take place during a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of education.

The time capsule was discovered last month, district officials told the Journal: “It was not known that the time capsule existed until high school students began working on a project to commemorate the 100 years of the building. In doing their work, a document revealed that during a cornerstone laying ceremony in 1924, a time capsule was placed within the cornerstone.” After looking at a photo of the cornerstone laying ceremony, the district searched behind the stone and located the time capsule – still intact.

According to a 1995 article in the Northport Journal, the Laurel Avenue site (8.5 acres of woodland back then) was purchased for $17,500 in 1922; the board of education had noted a trend across the country to build new school buildings and began investigating sites at which they could build their own new school.

“By January 30, 1923, voters had approved construction of a $300,000 bond issue for building costs,” the article reads. “Over the course of the next year, labor costs and bidding results caused the price tag to jump up to $398,000, and the board had to go back to the voters a second time.” On February 15, 1924, the cornerstone was laid. The bell from the old Northport schoolhouse on School Street was taken down and placed on the site.

The Northport Journal article indicates that inside the cornerstone were sealed copper boxes containing items to mark the occasion and year.

On Thursday, June 20, at 6:30pm and just prior to the board of education meeting at the Brosnan building, a special exhibit curated by Northport HIgh School students will showcase historic items from the district over the last 100 years.

“This is a unique opportunity to connect with our district's heritage and celebrate the progress we've made over the past century,” district officials said in a press release. The time capsule will be opened at 7pm. 

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