Urban Archeologist: Class Pictures from Math Teacher

Memories of a former high school teacher.


After 30 years of searching for heirlooms, I know what I’m looking for. I can sum it up in one phrase: If it’s old and it’s local, I’m interested.

I got a call in the middle of the summer from an estate sale service owner who was closing her business and moving south. She had remembered me from an earlier sale and called to say she had some WWII memorabilia from a Bethel home that I might want to see. After looking, I decided to pass on the bulk of WWII patches, flags and medals.

I ended up purchasing a box of papers that had a variety of items — among them were 15 class pictures, some dated, some blank. I thought at first they must be one person’s journey through the Danbury school system, and then I realized they were all taken on the same steps, many with the same teacher. Then it dawned on me that these pictures and the other items must have belonged to the teacher — Mr. Krizan. After a little research I found out that Mr. Krizan was a math teacher at Main Street School in Danbury. He passed at the age of 86 in 2007.

I love looking at old photos, especially of local people, wondering how their lives turned out, if they are still around, and maybe knowing some of their stories. I can’t get enough of the styles of the era — the clothes, the hair, the “look.” Fortunately, some of the images included names of the students, which I hope will lead me to someone who remembers these times.

We can take a step back even further with the final two images. The first, with the girls in white dresses and the teachers — all holding still for the photographer while he waits for the proper exposure time for the images to be burned into the emulsion on the glass plate or paper film. This image, according to the seller, was definitely Danbury, CT. Unfortunately, the only other clues will have to come from reader-detectives that I know are better at this than me.

The final image is similar in style to the last. Though there is no date, these two could be from a similar era. The interesting story behind this image is that I saved it from the trash at the Elephant’s Truck. It was in a frame where the glass had shattered and though it was covered with a lot of mold I decided it was worth scanning if not keeping.

My eternal curiosity may get me in trouble with my much tidier loved ones, but until then I will keep searching and rescuing and posting my discoveries.

Speaking of discoveries… maybe you can help me figure out what this tarnished piece of decorative metal is. I can only guess.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.


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