Sophomore finds Heritage Week treasure

Treasure finder Nick Nelson at the 50-yard line, "the best seat in the house." (See Clue 5 below.)

Sophomore finds Heritage Week treasure

Nick Nelson, a sophomore living in Selby Hall residence, found the Heritage Week treasure Monday afternoon hidden under a bench in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.

An entrepreneurship major from Duluth, Nick did his homework before he started searching for the treasure, which was a “College” of St. Thomas paperweight hidden in an empty peanut-butter jar.

The first clue, published Friday, turned out to be a good one for Nelson. An old photograph that was part of the clue showed the university’s founder, Archbishop John Ireland, at some sort of military review. The picture was taken on campus with some buildings in the background.

Those buildings were torn down years ago. Nelson first tried to find old campus photos on the Web, but then remembered some old St. Thomas photographs hanging in the second-floor Student Dining Room in Murray-Herrick Campus Center.

He recognized the building in Friday’s clue as one of the buildings in the cafeteria photo, and that helped him place the general location of the treasure somewhere around the football stadium or field house.

The second clue, which emphasized the word “game,” also told Nelson he was on the right track. After reading Monday’s clue, he decided to swing by the stadium for a look. He scanned the stadium benches, and the bench supports.

“All the supports were kind of rusty,” he recalled. “But I noticed one support that looked a little more silver than the others, so I went up in the stands for a closer look.”

The silver that he spotted was a bit of duct tape that was holding the peanut butter jar underneath the bench. As tomorrow’s clue would have said, it was located under “the best seat in the house,” which of course would have been on the football field’s 50-yard line.

Nelson’s discovery is worth $300. He’s taking it in the form of a credit to his Tommie eXpress account, and likely he will use it to buy books.

“This was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m looking forward to looking for it again next year.”

This was the second-annual hunt. Last year’s winner, senior Ashley Smith, was out looking for it this year but Nelson beat her to the punch.

The treasure was hidden in a peanut butter jar in honor of Monsignor James Lavin and the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, known in these parts as Lavinburgers, that he served to generations of students outside his room in Ireland Hall.

Below are all six clues that were prepared for the hunt.


Clue No. 6

So here’s the spot, where treasure will be found.

In a plastic jar, a bit up off the ground.

If it was in a chapel, the name would be a pew,

But for watching football … well that’s our final clue.

Review the hint on Wednesday, the hint on Thursday too.

If that won’t lead you to it, we don’t know what to do.


Clue No. 5

Oh those funny Tommies, from the early days,

Dressed all crazy backward, he must be in a daze.

Where’s this guy a headed, he should turn around.

Go west, young man, if the treasure will be found.

Here’s another clue, we won’t be such a louse.

Think of where to find, the best seat in the house.


Clue No. 4

This is what a dance was like, a zillion years ago.

Neatly pressed, nicely dressed, and a highly polished toe.

The Katies came for mixers, so we’ve heard it said.

This is how they did it, prior to coed.

See the seven students, in this picture’s view?

Subtract just one, you’ll have our Wednesday clue.


Clue No. 3

Look at all those fashions, from several years ago,

Big hair on top, but skinny pants below.

Thirty years from now, will they turn the tables?

When they see old pictures, showing lots of navels.

Oops, back to the treasure hunt; you want another clue.

Fawcett locks on cheerleaders, that will have to do.


Clue No. 2

Tommies pictured long ago, hope no one is a cheater.

One guy looks a little sneaky, sucking on that heater.

What are they playing? Could it be gin rummy?

Staying warm indoors, so their noses won’t get runny.

For Monday’s clue, one that’s not so lame,

Don’t think of acey-deucey, try another game.


Clue No. 1

His name was Johnny Ireland, the person in the middle.

Our founder was a busy guy, and didn’t like to fiddle.

The photo, we’ll tell you, is a pretty nifty clue.

Take a little breather, for hinty number two.

Just to be mean, see that building to the right,

We tore the old thing down, now it’s out-a-sight.