Labor Day Weekend in Greenfield will be extra special in 2015 as the crown jewel of the Highland County community — Edward Lee McClain High School — observes its centennial. McClain High School is an impressive brick edifice on a campus that resembles a small college. Inside this unique public school, visitors marvel at the paintings, sculptures, friezes, ornate tile and other works of art that have inspired generations of students and established the McClain family’s legacy of paying forward.
McClain High School was a gift to the community, designed to do “the most good for the greatest number for the longest time” in the words of Edward Lee McClain, an industrialist who made a fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries manufacturing horse collar pads and building an impressive business empire.
McClain added to his success by purchasing other companies and demonstrating a real talent for bringing products to market that were needed by a growing nation. McClain and his wife Lulu decided to give Greenfield the beautiful art-filled high school that continues to inspire students, faculty and visitors alike. The new school was dedicated during Labor Day Weekend of 1915 with many dignitaries present for the ceremony.
For more than a year, a committee of school officials and many community members has been planning the centennial celebration that will take place Friday through Sunday, September 4-6. “The result should be an enjoyable and meaningful weekend as local graduates and visitors reflect on the generosity of the McClain family while considering how each of us might be able to ‘pay forward’ for the enrichment of future generations,” said Greenfield City Manager Ron Coffey, a proud McClain alumnus.
An added bonus to the festivities is the belief that the cornerstone of McClain High School contains a time capsule. Superintendent of Schools Joe Wills announced Monday that plans are in motion to remove the 1914 cornerstone of McClain High School and extract the time capsule that was placed there 101 years ago. Plans are to open the capsule prior to Saturday’s Centennial Dinner (scheduled at 5 p.m.) and examine the contents. A new time capsule will be placed in the cornerstone, to be opened in the year 2115.
Complete details along with a schedule of events is available at www.mcclain100.org.