Dave Jorgenson, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Wailuku Elementary School, helped review contents the 100-year-old time capsule opened yesterday at the school.

Capsule reveals Maui
100 years ago

A crowd of 30 people opens
a time capsule buried a century
ago at a Wailuku school

WAILUKU >> A time capsule placed in a cornerstone of a Wailuku school about 100 years ago was opened last night, shedding some light upon what some people thought important to preserve at the turn of the 20th century.

The contents included several newspapers, one dating to 1866 during the Hawaiian monarchy, and a number of Hawaiian monarchy stamps and coins.

One that seemed to attract the attention of the crowd was an 1883 Hawaiian silver dollar with the face of King David Kalaukaua.

The contents of the capsule will be on display during the celebration of Wailuku Elementary School's centennial on May 22.

The contents were kept in a steel cylinder, about 10 inches long and 6 1/2 inches in diameter, and unscrewed last night before a crowd of more than 30 people at the Wailuku Elementary cafeteria.

"This is exciting," said Principal Beverly Stanich. "We're honored to be in the present of what people 100 years ago thought was so important to send into the future."

A Kalakaua silver dollar is usually valued at $350 to $400, but they can fetch a higher price, depending on quality, said Don Medcalf, owner of Hawaiian Islands Stamps & Coin on Oahu.

Medcalf, who wrote the book "Hawaiian Money Standard Catalogue," said that among those items found in the capsule, the Kalakaua silver dollar might be of the highest value.

But Medcalf, interviewed by telephone, said he would have to personally inspect the items to make an appraisal, and that the value of stamps and coins hinged on their condition.

Other items inside included a 1900 U.S. silver dollar, a 2-cent stamp with a picture of Honolulu Harbor, a blue 5-cent Hawaii stamp, a 1901 U.S. nickel, a green 1-cent Hawaii stamp, and brown 2-cent stamp with a picture of Kalakaua and the Provisional Government seal.

There were several copies of Hawaii newspapers, including an 1866 copy of the Hawaiian Gazette with an advertisement for a law firm with attorney W.F. Crockett, the grandfather of Maui attorney William Crockett, who attended Wailuku Elementary.

There was also a 1903 report about the Territory of Hawaii.

Wailuku resident Brandy Gaddis said the contents indicate that those who decided to put things in the capsule were politically minded.

The capsule was laid in the cornerstone on May 21, 1904 to observe the completion of what was then called "Wailuku Public School."

Out of the school came many sons and daughters of immigrants, some of whom became well-known Hawaii figures, including retired state Sen. Nadao Yoshinaga, who helped push through legislation that established pre-paid health care for many workers and collective bargaining for public employees.

Others included Fujiko (Katsutani) Matsui, an Amateur Athletic Union national swimming champion who qualified to be on the 1940 U.S. Olympic team.


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