A pair of craftsmen who helped build Montclair State University more than a century ago left behind a message for future generations -- but it was hidden in such a way that it might never have been found at all.
Fortunately for posterity, the message from those workers -- believed to be first-generation Irish-Americans -- has been received, loud and clear.
An article published in the university's campus magazin e describes how Robert Kanaby, a demolition laborer working on a renovation of the university's College Hall building, was recently breaking down some brickwork with a hammer when he came across a "void" and heard glass break.
Kanaby had discovered a gap in the wall containing a beer bottle. And inside the bottle, a note, written in a handsome cursive.
“This is to certify that this wall was built by two bricklayers from Newark, N.J., by the names of William Hanly and James Lennon, members of No. 3 of the B.M.I.U. of America," the note read. It was dated July 3, 1907, the year before the then-Montclair State College began holding classes.
“They took the time and love to put this wall together, to take ownership of a job done well by writing their names, what they did and where they were from," Kanaby told the magazine “And we took it down. That was an experience for me.”
The university plans to exhibit the message and will try to locate any of the men's descendants.
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