ENFIELD — On a lazy holiday weekend eve, an 8-foot piece of concrete found outside Enfield High School captured the imagination of residents Thursday.
Construction workers at Enfield High School cutting down trees and preparing the site for renovations Tuesday unearthed the concrete block. Speculation quickly spread through town that a time capsule dating to the 1800s had been found.
The evidence: Writing etched in the concrete seems to say "1843-1943" and "Do not open until 2043." There's some disagreement about the exact dates.
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Mayor Scott Kaupin said a time capsule has long been rumored to have been buried near Enfield High School, at 1264 Enfield St.
The object found may or may not be a time capsule. But that hasn't stopped debate about what the town should do — open it now or wait until 2043.
"Do we respect the wishes of the time capsule or do we open it?" Kaupin asked. In the meantime, Kaupin said, the concrete block has been given to Enfield police for safekeeping.
Workers who are doing renovations at the high school Thursday said the block was found near the school's sign, where trees were removed as part of the construction. Workers had to remove a few memorials from around the trees, and during the digging they found the 8-foot-long piece of concrete which has a PVC pipe in the center. No one is sure if anything is encased inside. Kaupin said town officials learned that PVC dates to around 1938.
Meanwhile, town officials are debating their next steps and looking for people who may know more about the capsule.
Enfield Historical Society member Anthony Secondo said Thursday there's a "big question mark" surrounding the concrete block. He said he went to the historical society Thursday to see what records were available and if there was any mention of a time capsule.
Secondo said he thinks the town should open the capsule.
"I think it's finders-keepers," he said. "We found it, let's open it, mark it down in history, maybe put some things in there, mark where we put it and open it again in 2143."
Secondo said the concrete block was buried on town land and so it's town property. He said some Native American artifacts on display at the historical society are from the surrounding area. He said time capsules typically include "mementos of the current day," such as mechanical devices, shoes, perhaps, or clothing.
Superintendent Jeffrey Schumann said that, based on his research, the original Enfield High School was built in 1893 at that site, so it may be possible a time capsule was buried then.
Secondo said his research Thursday couldn't conclusively determine when the high school was built.
Kaupin said officials will consider several options: Display the concrete block at the town's Fourth of July celebration July 11-13; X-ray it to see if there is anything inside; call an expert to examine it; put it on display at the high school after construction finishes; or open it and write "opened 2014 don't open until 2143."
Kaupin said he hopes that by sharing the story with residents, someone may come forward with more information. Anyone with information is asked to call the town manager's office at 860-253-6350.