Treasures in the Rubble at Minnehaha Academy

December 14, 2017 06:42 PM

Demolition crews recently discovered a time capsule from 1912 left inside a cornerstone in the portion of Minnehaha Academy destroyed by a natural gas explosion on Aug. 2.

 "We did not know, we thought, we had a hunch there might be a time capsule,” said Dr. Donna Harris, the school's president. “We are discovering treasures in our school."


TIMELINE: Explosion at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis

Plans are in the works for students to open the capsule. Other artifacts were also rescued from the rubble this week. They included a piece by Minneapolis artist, Ethel L. Hollinbeck, entitled “Adam and Eve.”

KSTP was allowed to see the damage inside the school first-hand Thursday.

That blast, on the school's upper campus located at 3100 West Riverview Parkway in Minneapolis, killed two staff members and injured nine other people.

A federal investigators' preliminary report said the blast was caused by a gas explosion that occurred as workers were moving gas meters. But a final report won’t be ready until later in 2018, or early 2019.

The windows are blown out of what remains of Harris' office on the top floor of the school. She was there at the time of the explosion, and the blast was so powerful that it knocked the shoes off her feet.

"Everything you would think about in a movie when an explosion occurred, that's what we experienced - walls fell, cement blocks fell," Harris said. “We couldn't see for a while because of the dust."

During a campus tour Thursday afternoon, Minnehaha Academy officials said demolition will wrap up next month.

"It's nice now to create new memories - beauty rising from the ashes," Harris said.

Just this week, the architecture firm Cuningham Group and Mortenson Construction were hired to work with the school on designing plans to rebuild the two buildings that were destroyed.

"It's really more than bricks and mortar,” said Judith Hoskens, the Cuningham Group principal.  "It's really about capturing Minnehaha Academy's legacy.”

Minnehaha Academy, a private school, is awaiting payment from their insurance company and the results of fundraising efforts as they work on plans for the new buildings slated to open in 2019.


Eric Chaloux

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