Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A blast of information from the past

Daily Inter Lake | March 31, 2023 7:00 AM

After spending two years getting documents organized, a vast archive of Troy’s history is available on the high school’s website, according to Jacob Francom, Troy School District superintendent.

“It would be cool to see other school districts do this, too,” Francom said.

Francom and longtime Troy clerk Mary Bellamy worked to digitize thousands of pages of the Trojan Trumpet and Troy scrapbooks.

“We wanted to make sure that we were keeping the history alive,” Francom said.

It took a lot of time, but the clerk helped digitize everything the school could.

“It's a neat opportunity for people to get in there and see what was going on 60 or 70 years ago,” Francom said.

The database has been used for practical and sentimental purposes, Francom said. People have gone in to do family work, or genealogy, and Francom himself will send out factoids in newsletters to staff.

One interesting historical fact uncovered was a 1939 visit from Jeannette Rankin, the Montana state senator and first woman to hold federal office, who came to speak to Troy students.

There are stories about a suit from the school against the state and stories about children being expelled from school for marijuana possession back in the 1970s.

One story about “how things might be” in the year 2000 documents children’s visions of the future.

One student suggests “There will be no clocks, so we will have to go with the flow.”

Another predicted that they will make space shoes so you can walk on air and they will be thought-controlled.

Somewhat accurately, one student predicted that “Houses will be completely automated and built with televisions and furniture in the walls. Just push a button and they appear.”

The scrapbooks date back to the 1920s and the Trojan Trumped dates back to the 1930s.

“I’ll post one of those every week just so people have a sense of where we have been and where we’re going,” Francom said.

The school had to buy some specific tools to be able to scan all the documents and there were some difficulties in scanning – sometimes the pages would not be legible on the first scan.

“I know when I was going through it the hard part was not to stop and get caught up reading all of it, too,” Francom said.

It's been fascinating to read the material, Francom said. It will be available for a long time so there’s plenty of time to digest the material.

Making use of the old materials was important as some original copies are falling apart. The oldest records are nearly 100 years old, Francom said.

“We don't want to end here, we still have some things we want to do,” Francom said, adding that there are still some yearbooks and sporting documents the school has to go through.

"The school wanted to make sure we were keeping all this so people could remember their families," Francom said.

The documents also serve as something that future generations can hold onto and while the school has the records, a museum or researcher could also access them.

The records can be accessed on the school's website here: https://www.troyk12.org/page/history