On June 6, 2015, the town of Ashburnham will open its Eisenlohr time capsule. The capsule was created by George Hoffman and Louis Eisenlohr way back in 1915, but who were these two gentlemen and what have they to do with Ashburnham and Cushing Academy?
George Hoffman was born in Ashburnham in January 1863, the only one of four children in his family to live to adulthood. He was president of Crown Manufacturing Co., in Philadelphia, at the time of his death in 1951. Although he was not a graduate of Cushing Academy, he became a Trustee of the school in 1907 and served on the board for 44 years. He also was one of the founders of the Watatic Club in North Ashburnham, which burned in 1925.
Frank Prentice Rand, a Cushing historian and member of the Class of 1908, noted that Mr. Hoffman was a lavish and eccentric benefactor. According to Rand, Hoffman’s ambitions were given a boost from Arthur H. Lowe who helped the young Hoffman became commercially established in Philadelphia as a twine and cordage manufacturer.
Throughout his life, he was very generous to Cushing Academy. He built a pavilion on Adams Field and renovated the Library. He gave the school its oil painting of Bette Davis—the schools’ most famous alumna. He gave prizes for student essays. He also paid for a flagpole in the New Cemetery.
He also interested his Philadelphia friends in the Academy, including Louis H. Eisenlohr. Mr. Eisenlohr had no tie to Cushing other than a friendship with George Hoffman. Eisenlohr came to Cushing for the first time in 1915, although by that time he had already donated the money for two scholarships. During his visit, he gave another $1,000, also for scholarships. Eisenlohr returned in 1916 with another $1,000. When Mr. Eisenlohr passed away in 1922, having given more than $8,000 to the school for scholarships and operating funds, the executors of his will set aside $10,000 for the Eisenlohr loan fund, which provided emergency funds for students in dire need.
Hoffman, too, left a large sum to the Academy on his death—eventually it would total nearly $300,000, much of it for scholarships.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.