updated 7/5/2007 10:08:17 PM ET 2007-07-06T02:08:17

A time capsule found in the wreckage of tornado-ravaged Greensburg High School documented the town's past through 70-year-old newspapers and membership lists from a church, a band and the American Legion post.

Two 1937 graduates of the school, Ruth West and Elgeva Kerr, opened the small copper box during the town's July 4th festivities and pulled out a sheaf of documents.

West said no one knew what school officials had placed in the capsule when they entombed it in the cornerstone of the school's then-new auditorium. The capsule was apparently forgotten until workers discovered it while clearing away the debris left by the May 4 tornado that destroyed more than 90 percent of the tiny south-central Kansas town of 1,400 residents.

Among other things, the capsule contained membership lists for the 1937 school board, an American Legion post, the Masonic Lodge, the Methodist Church and a band that played at that year's Kansas State Fair. It also held copies of the Kiowa County Progressive Signal and the Greensburg News.

School board member Ki Gamble said the capsule's contents showed the town's past support for education, an important reminder as officials are planning a new school.

"Things change and are rebuilt and will go on, but it's also good to emphasize our history and our past," Gamble said.

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