We've never been lucky enough to find anything of monetary value. But, after moving in to our current home, we were thrilled throughout the spring and summer to watch many of the "heirloom" plants we loved as children sprout and bloom in our yard....daffodils, hydrangea, peonies, tulips, flowering quince, bleeding hart, hyacinth, crocus, as well as many we were not familiar with.
I lived for while in an old stone cottage once owned by Jackie Gleason. (The other house on the property was this architectural wonder known as the Round House, which the television network built for him, and where the basement served as a studio for very late episodes of The Honeymooners. If you watch an episode and see a credit that reads "Peekskill Studios" that means at least part of the show was made in this house!)
Anyhoo, back to my discovery. My house was old and hardly touched but for the removal of some thick white shag carpeting several old-timers in town told me had once appeared in much of the house. So we got to work, room by room, not making any structural changes, just, you know, trying to bring things into this century. Mostly this involved removing vinyl flooring and ugly paneling, etc. Oh, and wallpaper. LOTS and LOTs of wallpaper. It took me a month to remove the nine (YES, NINE!) layers of wallpaper in the main floor bathroom, right down to the spiffy palm tree motifed last layer (shades of his love affair with Miami Beach, perhaps?). I love doing my own home improvements when I can, but I think Jackie Gleason cured me of going near a wallpaper project of any kind—taking it down or putting it up—forever.
When we took out the stairs to put in new ones we discovered a cardboard box. It contained live ammunition (bullets to probably an assault rifle) as well as an old policeman's uniform. The man who owned the house before us wasn't a policeman so the find was very strange. Who would leave live ammunition (large, expensive, ammunitiom) hidden under the stairs? The only access was to tear the stairs up. Needless to say, we turned everything over to the police.
I found a NIHI cola bottle inside the wall of the kitchen i was taken out the house was built in 1949 so one of the carpenter,s must have left it there when the house was built and I also found a set of fender skirts for a 1957 chevy in the crawl space.:)
When moving one of my friends into thier new house... We found military grade explosives... Nothing like making a first impression with the Bomb squad showing up at your door, and you have not even moved in yet... The local PD did a more detailed search and found all kinds of things that they removed... Seems the militia is alive and well in Michigan...
Remodels/Additions usually bring good news and bad news. As I began our addition on the back of our then 87 year old Arts and Crafts I had to remove the whole back porch, half of which had been inexpertly closed in at some point. I found out when it had been done with the first swing of a sledge hammer into the stucco. The exterior walls had been stuffed with crumpled up newspaper that carried the date of August 30 1950 which is my birthdate. (Please, no cards.) That was a rather fun surprise. As I read the fragile pages I found that much had gone on that day in Korea!
Later during the addition I began to tear into an interior wall and when reaching in to pull off some lath from the studs I was literally schocked by hanging, live, old knob and tube wiring that had been left to dangle with about one inch of insulation removed. Fortunately they never grounded and burned the house to the ground. I was reminded to count my blessings!
We have a 1940's salt box style house that has been added on to many times that were are renovating and have come across several different things old bottles, tools and such found in the crawl space. Also a old sign from a business that I am now going to refurbish and use for our company. the last thing we found was when we took down the old fire place hearth that had faux brick on it and found they stuffed the end air gaps with newspapers from the 70's...:cool:
Years ago, worked as an insurance photographer -- and got the job to shoot house lift next door to my house! The building was a pre-WWII multi-family dwelling, with poured foundations. As they did the lift, they kept finding small pieces of metal in the footings, and sand base. I grabbed a few, cleaned them off with a hose -- to find that they were used horse shoes!! Did some investigation, found the building's original foundations were poured in 1892, and the concrete was pulled in by teams of horses (oxen were not allowed, as they were too large and uncontrollable in those settings).
Was a fascinating process - finding horse shoes that were forged by hand (none of that pre-fab stuff they use now!), and that each shoe was individual to each foot of the particular animal. We found over 40 shoes, matching to determine over 7 complete sets, and 12 unmatched shoes. All sitting there for over 100 yrs.
In that same lift, we also found pieces of Coke Glass -- highly collectible in the WWII time. These pieces were as large as a football, green-ish tinted glass that was from the local bottler. When they had extra, they simply poured it on the ground, and people who worked there picked it up (after it cooled, of course!), and sold it or collected it and placed in gardens, etc.
I have never been that lucky! Usuaslly some of the things we take out were out of date but fit right in at a salvage yard!
An empty cistern underneath the entire kitchen - AFTER a grand piano had been moved over top of the weak floorboards.