Anson Middle School time capsule opened


The small manilla envelope sealed in a copper box and hidden in the 1925 cornerstone of the former Anson Middle School appeared unassuming. Its contents, however, give a snapshot at life in Marshalltown 87 years ago and a glimpse at what then leaders saw as the future of Marshalltown Schools.

Inside the envelope was a letter from Superintendent William F. Shirley (b. 1886 d. 1944), detailing the bond issue passed to fund the construction of Anson Middle School and future plans for a new high school (current Miller Middle School). The total cost for constructing the middle school at that time was just shy of $75,000.

“It would be interesting to all of us,” Shirley wrote. “to know what posterity’s verdict will be but this is, of course, impossible.”

The envelope also contained the Marshalltown School Building Program Survey from 1925, a comprehensive look at district facilities, community growth and demographics, and plans for future school construction.

Plans are currently underway to create a new time capsule to place at the site as the remaining parts of former AMS are remodeled to house district central offices. If you have ideas for items to include email Jason Staker at

The original contents of the capsule will soon be on  display at the Marshalltown Public Library. The contents have also been digitized.

To read Mr. Shirley’s letter in its entirety click here.

To read the full Marshalltown School Building Program click here.