Home>Discussions>MAGAZINE>YourTOH>Your Discoveries>Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
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unregistered
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
unregistered

Long story short:

Background: 100+ y.o. home. Originally coal stoves, then coal fired FA furnace, later converted to NG. Year 2 decided to demo old partially bricked up coal chute and prepare for removal of old inefficient converted FA furnace with questionable heat exchanger and installation of new condensing unit. Also demo of old chimney unlined.

First discovery: boarded up adjacent and abandoned dumb waiter near old coal bin behind bad brick-up job. Remants of coal bits and lots of coal dust also at bottom of Dumb waiter shaft (apparently used to tote buckets of coal to upper levels original coal stoves).

The climax: discovery of a tiny broken skelleton! partially crushed/smashed skull (the face and jaw), about the size of a three-five month old human infant! Frantic calls to State Police Barracks, trooper arrives, calls in reinforcements, detectives and forensic teams. Entire home becomes a crime scene investigation like something out of CSI! The result: turns out owners some 80-60 years prior had a history of owning a series of monkeys, chimps, etc. as family pets brought in by some uncle in the merchant marine. Turns out at one point one was thought to have run away or escaped, and was never found. Apparently was thrown or fell down the dumb waiter shaft, the tail bones and missing leg were found on a ledge and cavity between floors in the shaft above.

Treasure? Not really, but a great story now that the nightmare horror of what was originaly thought to be (an abused/murdered child) was over (and bonus: half the demo work was performed by their own controlled excavations, and no expenses to us)! Nothing else of interest except a bone handled shoe button hook and a few shirt studs, and a balm tin filled with baby teeth most of which had broken to bits and a few locks of curly hair in the attic in a gap between the floor boards and the gable wall.

Moms_Money_Pit
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
Moms_Money_Pit

In my old kentucky home, we found doctor's surgical instruments, medicine bottles, horse shoes, square nails, a pie safe, and eyeglasses from the 1800's. Wish I had stayed there, as when we moved into the 1950 crumbling stucco in Southern California, found a grow-light and doobie, plus an odd-shaped glass pipe was in one closet...local leo's said drug dealers used to live here; the teens who frequent my front yard [they cut class and do their drugs outside, wish the realtor had been honest about this 'hood']tell me that the odd bubble-shaped-end glass pipe is a "pookie" which is used to smoke marijuana wet? I'll just be glad when the houses go back up [I am $90,000 in the hole with the 2 mortgages now] so I can even break even and leave this crazed, drug-infested, gang-ruled, tax-riddled state. :eek:

Nailsup
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
Nailsup

Received my military discharge papers and told the wife to find a house (we were renting). While fixing up, we found an August 1929 newspaper stuffed under the side door sill plate. You could still read most of it. I am guessing the house was built in 1928 or early 1929. Also found a barrel tap, horseshoe, etc. I used expandable foam to fill the gap between the split-face cement blocks and the doorsill.

bill02888
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
bill02888

As I peeled away the aging floral wallpaper in the master bedroom I found another layer of wallpaper featuring ... Howdy Doody!

(Unfortunately there was another layer of wallpaper under that, and that layer had been painted! :eek: )

Red55
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
Red55

Hi, moved into my 1955 ranch, and after disloding the racoons from the attic, went down to the basement to sweep out the detritus of the prior owner. Went under a staircase, found a trap door under the steps (where they had cut in a storage closet). Lo and behold, a trove of adolescent secrets: a very old empty bottle of beer, some Lark cigarettes, and, no surprise a 1965 copy of Playboy magazine.

samsmom
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
samsmom

We found three boxes of blank checks under the steps of the basement from two owners ago. We might not have ever found them except I was at just the right angle to see under the bottom step. No we didn't try to write a check to pay off the house but we could dream. We actually knew both prior owners and unfortunately the owners of the checks had already past away. Yes, we did look at the check register, there was nothing exciting but it was interesting to see what gas and electric cost 30 years ago.

We also had to clean out the fireplace ash pit. It looked like it had never been empty, it was full to the ground level. We decided to empty the whole thing and dug through layers of ashes going back 50 years. We found trash that was at the very bottom which we speculated was where the work men threw their trash on the job site when it was just a hole in the ground. We found some paper coffee cups, some gloves and a few other items. It was like an archiologist dig.

memaw1001
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
memaw1001

Whenever I start a garden section in my yard, I turn the dirt over with a pitch fork and sit to separate it with my hands. In all but one garden I have found marbles. Tiger Eye, solid colors, and two swirled about the size of my pinkey nail. I clean them up and drop them in the fish tank. I got to where I look forward to finding my little treasures.

I, also, own a very old house. When I started the kitchen demo I pulled up linoleum, plywood, linoleum(normal), and found several layers of old newspaper, that were used for padding, from the early 1950's. It was great to see the advertisments and ads from an early local newspaper. I saved as much as I could and would like to implement them somehow into my new kitchen.

krgsmith
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
krgsmith

When fixing up our ca. 1856 home in Armonk, NY, we found more than a few interesting things. The wine-press in the basement was cool and that's where we found the 'Treasure', which was a box for grapes that were named 'Treasure'. But perhaps more interesting were the 1930's newspapers someone had used to shim up the uneven flooring in the kitchen (containing stories of Joe DiMaggio as well as the Dionne quintuplets!). Also, it seems that back in the days before city trash pick-up, people used to bury their trash -- so subsequently our property is constantly weeping pieces of old plates and some pretty cool antique medicine bottles. Lastly, our plumber found a bayonet (presumably from the American Revolutionary War) ... wonder what happened to the soldier who was using it?

We have since added our own treasure, which is a cheeky cast iron plaque that reads "On This Site in 1897 Nothing Happened".

Sylvianne
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
Sylvianne

My husband and I bought our home 5 years ago as a foreclosure. It was built in 1960 with very little closet space and it was listed as a 3 bedroom, 1 bath. The previous owners left alot of stuff and junk in the house when they left. We were cleaning out one "closet" in the family room when we discovered a 2nd bathroom, no fixtures, but all the plumbing intact and in working order.

mnp13
Re: Buried treasure: Find anything interesting during your last move or demo?
mnp13

We were ripping out the wall above the fireplace in my last house and we found wires masking taped together in the old plastered over electrical boxes. Wires had been run through the old disconnected gas lines from the original gas fixtures. About a quarter of the upstairs was powered by those wires.

In that same wall we found an old pair of leather shoes with completely worn through soles. I still have them.

I was planning to redo the kitchen with 30's cabinets to go with my 1936 Globe Top refrigetator and my 1942 Chambers Model B stove. I was gutting the bedroom above the kitchen and a good deal of debris was falling down through the wall (the kitchen was already gutted.) While cleaning up I found a souvenir coin from the 1936 World's Fair - it fit right in!

My current house is a big brick Italinite Victorian. It has very few original details left besides the wood work - they even ripped off the coupala in the 1920's (hey Ask This Old House, wanna come over and help me figure out how to build a new one?!?!?). As I have ripped into closets and other nooks and crannies I have found scraps of the original wallpaper, ceiling paper and 18 inch borders. It is stunning to say the least.

We just had all of the windows replaced and I had the contractors pull off the window hardware. When I stripped the 10 leayers of paint off of them I found stunning brass locks with the words "The Champion" in very stylized lettering.

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