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Time capsule reveals Drury’s past, green space is in Drury’s future

For Immediate Release: May 6

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 6, 2010 — Drury President Todd Parnell joked today that he and the time capsule pulled out of Turner Hall are the same age: 62 years old. After examining the contents of the box today, it’s clear that President Parnell is in better shape.

Using a small, electric saw and some snips, Drury’s Red Richmond, director of facilities services, cut open the copper box, and Drury Archivist Bill Garvin pulled out mildewed contents of the container to reveal:

  • A copy of the Springfield Leader and Press from April 20, 1948. The paper included an article previewing the setting of the cornerstone for Turner Hall the next day at Drury.
  • A copy of the Springfield Daily News from April 21, 1948, that included an article about moonshine.
  • A pledge card from the “citizens of Springfield” for $150,000 for a new physical education facility.
  • A copy of the Drury College catalog from 1947-48.
  • A copy of Drury’s student newspaper the Mirror from April 10, 1948. The Mirror included an advertisement for “exotic orchid corsages” for $4.
  • A document that makes note of Smith Heating and Sheet Metal Works. Garvin assumes it was the company that constructed the box.
  • A list of local businesses and prominent individuals. Garvin speculates it may have been the donors for the construction of Turner Hall.
  • One document against the side of the container was too damaged to read. Garvin says he would be happy to talk to anyone with knowledge of what the document might have contained.

“This is a testament to the optimism of the people who placed this time capsule 62 years and 14 days ago, that they were confident that Drury University would be around today,” Garvin said.

The time capsule was pulled out of the cornerstone of Turner in December 2009. The existence of the time capsule wasn’t a surprise, but no one knew what was in it until today.

Turner and Belle Halls, long vacant, were torn down during Christmas Break. Following today’s time capsule opening, Director of Campus Sustainability Wendy Anderson unveiled plans for a green space to be built where the two buildings once stood. The plans include walking paths, a recreation area, benches and shading structures. Construction is scheduled to begin over the summer months.

Built in 1948, Turner was a residence hall that became vacant after the construction of new housing on campus. Turner last housed students in the spring of 2005. The driving force behind the construction of Turner was a Drury Board of Trustees member named Lyman Turner. He was not a Drury graduate, but he was a proponent of the liberal arts and called for Drury to admit African-American students in 1945, nine years before the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling. Drury President Todd Parnell lived in Turner, then called New Men’s Dorm, in 1965. His son Ben lived in the facility in 2000.

Belle Hall was built in 1947 as a housing and dining facility. In later years, the building served as a library annex and was home to the education department. Belle Hall was permanently closed in 2005.

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