While preparing to build a new school and gymnasium, the tiny community of Dale, Oklahoma experienced a blast from the past after officials discovered a 79-year-old time capsule hidden inside the old gym's walls, Atlas Obscura reports.

Dale High School was constructed in 1919 for students in first through 12th grades. In 1938, the school's gym was renovated. Sometime during the subsequent decades, two cornerstone plaques—which were originally visible from the front of the building—were covered by layers of bricks. To save these commemorative tablets before the current demolition process began, a construction crew broke open the wall. There, they found a small box—the time capsule—hidden along with the plaques.

The time capsule was placed on October 19, 1938. It contained a class list of all the students along with old newspapers, an Oklahoma history textbook, and a sealed letter dating back to the building's construction in 1919.

"We were this close to letting this go away with demo, not ever finding this huge historical treasure for Dale Public Schools,” Charlie Dickinson, the superintendent for Dale Public Schools, told local news channel KFOR. “I'm tickled to death.”

The exciting find occurred right before an alumni banquet, where guests had the chance to pore over the historic memorabilia. But instead of exhibiting the capsule for others to see, the school plans to copy its contents before putting the items back in the aging container. Once the new building is finished, Dickinson says, officials will place the capsule in a larger box, add new materials from 2018, and bury it inside the walls—potentially sowing the seeds for an ongoing local tradition.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]