Old liquor bottles, a crazy clown head, racy photos, classic baseball cards and, yes, even individual skeletons. homeowners have found all sorts of kooky — and valuable — matters during renovation projects. When general contractor David Gonzalez of Hoffman, Minnesota, found a rare comic book in his walls which sold at auction for a reported $175,000, we requested ers to chime in with what they’ve found buried within their lawns or yards or that had simply been shellacked over. Here are a few things that they found lurking inside their homes.
Love letters. By pattygirly:”We found these 31 love letters written by a soldier while he was in Europe in World War I. The soldier constructed the home in 1920. Back in March 2011 my brother cut a hole in the plaster and lath wall to bring an electric outlet and found the wall cavity filled with these. They were all to the gal he married when he got home. Some were written from the trenches in France. I traced his loved ones, and they had been so satisfied. The letters are now at Dalhousie University being copied and preserved.”
Duds supporting studs. Occasionally a promising find ends up to go nowhere. User captainsursea equates it to Geraldo Rivera’s popping open Al Capone’s secret vault in Chicago through a dwell two-hour unique in the mid-1980s. The vault was empty.
John Mueller had a similar letdown when he found a Lowrie Safe & Lock Company wall protected under the gutters at a two-flat building. “One of those units still had the door on it, but it was opened,” he says. “We had been removing some drywall to run the electric and discovered one secure that had the door removed and was totally covered in drywall.” But nothing was inside.
Meanwhile, wyndyacre read in a history book that a time capsule was concealed in a cornerstone of the 1926 schoolhouse that she dwelt in. “It took me 17 years to get around to using the bricks repointed, and that I had the mason take out the cornerstone to find what might be supporting it,” she says. “Nothing! How disappointing. But I assembled a waterproof package of photos, a letter and some present coins and place them in before sealing it up — for some upcoming renovator to locate.”
You can’t blame mtzchicadee for believing for a split second that she was about to turn into a wealthy vineyard owner in Italy. Nevertheless, it wasn’t intended to be. “My husband and I did a huge renovation, and he found this record folded up and filled between two beams in the cellar,” mtzchicadee says. “Once I looked at it, before seeing exactly what it was, I cried,’Oh, my God! We’ve Got the deed to a vineyard in Italy!’ (Former owners: old Italian household.) It was a receipt for a wine purchase. The record is a gorgeous piece of history that belongs to the home. I will frame it, hang it proudly and leave it with the home if we ever sell.”
Vice city. I am convinced that our country’s infrastructure is being held together entirely by cigarette butts, beer cans and liquor bottles. These homeowners would probably concur.
Out Of futurepassed:”While renovating a 1910-era three-family home in Hartford, Connecticut, I found a Mecca cigarette box on top of the base wall in the cellar. Baseball cards were often supplied in these packs. There was lots of anticipation as I opened the smoke box, hoping to find one of these rare and valuable old cards. However, alas, the box was empty! The Mecca cigarette box could possibly be worth $50 or so.”
By Sophie:”Although it did not have any value other than to show that the contractors had a terrible habit, we were amused to discover this 1982 package of cigarettes within the wall once we renovated our kitchen”
By erplaut:”Built in 1950, a bedroom in my home showed this beer can from a now-defunct Chicago brewery. I am betting the carpenter who left it behind a wall of built-ins had them scattered through the North Shore.”
By mariadgs:”Our home was constructed in 1905. We found these items in our little carriage house behind the wallsocket. I am hoping the chauffeur wasn’t drinking and driving.”
Now, you may be wondering what sort of person is leaving such things behind. General builder and contributor John Whipple provides some clues. “I’ve left lots of time capsules through time, and a year ago we left behind two miniature bottles of Scotch and two buy-and-sells,” he says. “I am hoping to get a call one day in the future, because I taped my business card into the scotch with a note that says,’Call Me'”
Collectibles. Out Of Leslie Granger:”When we awakened the floor to get back to the first floor of the 1920s farmhouse beyond St. Louis, we found a Willie Mays baseball card under the subfloor. Have not sold it. It is from 1966, which has to have been when they place in the linoleum floor.”
Art. Out Of susan148:”Our first home was an 1898 Queen Anne Victorian design. Way back in a bare part of the loft behind a chimney we found a signed and numbered Louis Icart etching. It has gone with us wherever we moved, and we’ve experienced it hanging for the past 40 decades.”
What is it? Many of the things homeowners’ve found baffle them — and us. This was found”behind a weird triangle wall area within our row house constructed in 1900,” says Chambers1589. “What is it? I have no idea.”
However, Laurie Landry’s discovery of a clown head in her 1967 Georgian home is one of the creepiest things I’ve seen. Why did the homeowners have this?
Bones. Talking of creepy things, many homeowners have discovered skeletons through renovations. When aswedishelf bought a 1966 ranch home last summer, he started spending a great deal of time cleaning up the neglected yard, discovering old bottles and fireplace grates.
“The creepiest locate for me were some very old bones,” he says. “I joked when I bought that home I would probably find a body when cleaning up the yard, but that I was only joking. As far as I can figure, they are a part of a cow’s tail and the sacrum. I took the bones into a nearby museum, however they aren’t sure what they are, only they aren’t human. The bones are nearly fossilized and are probably 50 to 60 years old”
Thorson Restoration & Construction’s carpenters found animal bones in the walls of a current renovation on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. “Although not antique or of significance,” the company says,”it goes on our record of weirdest things uncovered in demolition.”
However, lk_designs requires the bone-collector award; buddies discovered a human skeleton while renovating their Australian home, whose wooden stump base had to be substituted. “Since there was very little clearance under parts of the home to get into the stumps, the contractors had to go through the floor, which meant pulling up the floorboards, lk_designs says. “They found a human skeleton, much to everybody’s horror (and enthusiasm ). There was no flesh on the bones, but since it was very dry, the skeleton was well preserved and to a great extent so were the clothing. The clothes has been identified as cotton, and old predecimal money coins were found in’his’ pockets. Yes, even the skeleton was identified as man and the clothes was a man’s. Australia brought in decimal currency in 1966, so the skeleton was there for at least 46 decades, if not a good deal more.”
Jewelry. Out Of hotondesign:”My in-laws had bought a house in Bel Air, California, which was built in 1926. It was considered a teardown from the Realtor who sold them the house. My in-laws remodeled and renovated at the house, which was featured in Architectural Digest in 1926.
“Throughout the construction they found all kinds of stuff. In the master bathroom, my mother-in-law was laying on the floor playing with her dogs when she noticed the base of the vanity had an odd-looking base. When she pushed on the wood it started, and there was all kinds of beautiful vintage jewelry in Mexico, silver bracelets with amethysts, earrings etc.. Then when cleaning out the five bedrooms — where the ashes went into the basement — they found all kinds of items which were discarded into the fire that didn’t burnoff. They found a Brown Derby game publication, an invitation into a Roy Rogers party and a little ring box which appeared like nothing was in it. But stuffed in the top was a folded wax paper. Inside which were small rubies.”
Architectural Information. By John Mueller:”We found two stained glass windows encapsulated in a wall — they were paneled around on the interior and bricked up on the outside. The house has been constructed in the early 1900s.”
“The stained glass windows are of a design called”Chicago Prairie,” which is very popular here in Chicago,” Mueller continues. “I had a stained glass window mechanic examine them, and he did not believe they were anything more particular than really old windows”
Money. From Cynthia Celenza:”My husband renovates homes for a living. He was working in a house just bought by a young couple with two little kids. The plumber at the project was working to pull on wiring and couldn’t figure out why the wire wouldn’t work through. He went up in the attic and found a ship which was blocking the wiring. Inside he found love letters in the’60s and $10,000.
“From studying the letters that they pieced together that the man who’d lived in the home was having a affair with the woman who lived next door. They intended to leave their partners and run away together, but the man died suddenly. Since nobody knew of their key stash, it stayed concealed until the electrician found it. He gave box into the young couple, that needed the money badly for their children’s medical care (both kids suffered from lead poisoning in their previous residence ). They gave the electrician a $1,000 finder’s fee”
Out Of kredd02:”When my husband and I bought our first home, I was painting above one of the windows and thought I dropped paint on the cut. I looked down, and in between the mini blinds I found two coin purses. When I opened them, there was $1,500 in total. That helped us put new carpeting in.”
Va-va voom. From John Whipple:”In my house we found one of the very first Penthouse Forums. This was great for a laugh. ‘Dear Penthouse, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me today building this new steam shower…'”
From community manager Emily Hurley:”My sister started a cupboard in her cellar, and an old pinup in the’30s was attached to the inside.”
By stepi:”From the insulation of our loft, we found three drawings of naked women made by the prior owner’s firstborn son in 1952. When we advised him 40 decades after what we found, his face still turned red.”
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