The original Edwards Elementary was built in 1951 and the Board of Education honored the work of David Edwards by naming the “new Fourth Ward school” after him. Edwards was the owner and operator of the Edwards Coal company in Ames and was an influential member of the school board for 18 straight years. During that time, he saw a number of building projects completed, including the construction of Louise Crawford School, the reconstruction of what was the Central Junior High, as well as the Senior High School. He passed away on January 25, 1948.
In 2012, when the Ames community approved a bond measure to rebuild or renovate all of the elementary school buildings, the fate of the old Edwards building was sealed. Unlike other school properties such as Meeker Elementary where a new structure could be built on the same site, there simply was no room on the Edwards property. The Ames Community School District took the opportunity to build a new elementary school in a growing part of town.
History has interesting ways of making itself present. After Edwards Elementary was built in 1951, Meeker Elementary was finished the next year in 1952. Both buildings were done by the same architect and have a similar floorplan. Six decades later, both buildings are new again and followed a similar pattern. The new Edwards Elementary was completed in 2014 with the new Meeker Elementary finished in 2015. They were done by the same architecture firm, and also have a similar floorplan.
Earlier this summer, demolition of the old Edwards building took place, but not before the cornerstone was removed that contained a time capsule from 1951. On September 7, that time capsule was opened during a public event at the new Edwards Elementary. A special thanks to the Ames Historical Society, who played a key role in storing the cornerstone and opening the time capsule.
Here is a list of contents that was uncovered from the time capsule:
- 1950 Annual Report
- 1951 Annual Budget and Financial Reports
- The Financial Statement of the Ames Independents School District (1951)
- Statistical Reports of Enrollments
- Directories of Ames Public Schools
- “The Board of Education Presents Plans for the Necessary Enlargement and improvement of Our School System”
- Notes for a 1951 Ames Board of Education meeting
- Summary of Principals’ Meeting
- Local newspapers containing publicity concerning the school,
- “Current” issue of Ames Daily Tribune.