Photos, letter among items in time capsule at San Francisco school 

Photos and a letter were among the items found when a time capsule from 100 years ago was opened by students at San Francisco’s Cleveland Elementary School on Wednesday morning, school district officials said.

The time capsule was hidden at the school, located at 455 Athens St. in The City’s Excelsior district, when the building was first completed in 1910, San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Heidi Anderson said.

Former student John Weidinger, 69, discovered evidence of the time capsule while perusing an old San Francisco Call newspaper article in The City’s Public Library, Anderson said.

The article indicated that a copper box was set inside a wall behind a mural in the school’s playground, she said.

The time capsule was eventually located, and was opened Wednesday morning to the delight of students and teachers at the school.

The box included photos of the school’s students in 1910, as well as a letter addressed to the future mayor of San Francisco, and other documents and books, district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

The students were “audibly excited” when they saw the pictures of their counterparts from a century ago, Blythe said.

The writers of the letter said that the school was the only permanent structure on the block in 1910, and that The City was still recovering from the disastrous earthquake in 1906, Blythe said.

However, the letter predicted that by the time the capsule was opened, the block would be lined with “fine mansions,” she said.

The box also included a salary schedule that showed teachers made about $2,000 per year in 1910, Blythe said.

The mural on the campus was not damaged in the extraction process, and the students’ curriculum was altered to focus on the discovery, Anderson said.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to gain a broader perspective of not only the history of the school, but of the lives of the generations before that set foot in the school and sat in the classrooms they sit in,” she said.

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