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Old 04-28-2011, 10:41 PM   #1
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Treasure hunt


I have been having fun tearing my old house apart. It's been a mini treasure hunt between very long hours, and it's coming along nicely.
My first find was when I removed the first baseboard in the living room. The house was built in 1887 and it was obvious the boards had never been moved. Buried under the soot I found a knife, then the old postcard, and then the 1887 Indian head penny popped out. Every nail in there is hand forged, and I am reusing when it is practical.



All along I have known this house was Victorian trimmed back in the day. I have pictures of sister houses in the area so I have a good idea what it once was, but my friends thought I was just doing some wishful thinking. So the best find was in the basement- some patterns for the original corner trim and a pendant.


My plan has always been to stencil the living room floor. I was having a real hard time finding a stencil pattern I liked, then when I saw the pendant it seemed like a no- brainer. It is and always has been part of this house. So I plan to randomly stencil it with no set orientations, and perhaps even use the corner pattern on the floor as well.
But my friend who is helping me started calling the round pendant pattern "That Girl". And wow, she is so right. I'm not sure if I can shake this image!


Anyway,the floor has come along nicely, all paneling off, plaster repairs slow but getting there. After that- paint and finish floors, and just maybe I can get moved in. Then the work begins outside
Sadly, the transom windows are gone from the interior doors, but I'm not giving up on them just yet either. I really want to bring them back.
It's an adventure! And having fun on my treasure quest

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Old 04-29-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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Thanks for the pictures----A lot of us like the antique houses---post a couple of pictures if you can---Mike---

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Old 04-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #3
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Neat stuff! We're refinishing a bunch of baseboards in our new-old (1878) house; here's an incentive to pull 'em off and do 'em in the basement rather than in place. (As if the lower-back-experience weren't enough of a prod!)
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Old 04-29-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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I have found some neat things in old houses, but have also left a few things for future generations to enjoy, fortunately nothing too costly yet. Someday, someone is going to say "hey, look what some old fool left inside this wall", and I'm going to be laying 6' under saying "first of all, I'm dead, so be nice, and second of all, it wouldn't be there, except that things were going so well that day that it never even occurred to me it was in there until after it as too late". The worst ones are dropping something in the second or third story wall of a ballon framed building, built before fire blocking was considered; you have no idea how far it fell.
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:52 PM   #5
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At my parents place when I was living there we pulled up the old (20year) carpet and were going to put down linoleum. Got the carpet and underlay up and then the three layers of old linoleum from underneath that and found that they had used newspapers as underlay for the linoleum. Dates were from 1941-1944 during WWII there was a lot of cool pictures and articles in there about it. We saved what we could. Also found some old photographs and some old change under there as well.

They are planning on redoing the upstairs sometime this year so it will be interesting to see what behind the lathe and plaster
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Old 04-29-2011, 01:53 PM   #6
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When I helped remodel a room with a friend a few years ago, we put a few pictures and a letter along with a couple gold dollar coins in a pvc pipe and capped the ends. Strapped it to a stud and put the paneling up. Hope they find it someday but they will probably use a track hoe yearsfrom now to tear it down and haul it off.
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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Thanks all! Notice I haven't shown any updated house pictures... ha! It is a mess! I have managed to get a lot done, but it's one of those things where the payoff will come all at once. Gets worse and worse then suddenly you see the fruits of your labor.
I knew I was going to find a penny. Don't ask me how... I was hoping I was wrong and would find a morgan.
The next 3 boards have given up nothing yet, but I haven't cleaned out the pockets too well either. It seems you always find something from the past but getting a penny from the year it was built was awesome indeed. And the knife... I grabbed it and told my friend I had found the murder weapon. The knife is marked "Wilson Shear steel, sheffield england"
The best was the patterns though. They must have been pack rats like me!
The nails are so cool- thinking about all that went in to making a single one... then the sheer number of them, even in the lath.... it's mind boggling.
I have had to remove door and window frames, which I tried very hard to avoid. But the plaster is always worst in those areas and no sense in ignoring it so it can bite me later. I keep saying whatever I do... just has to last about 30 years and then I am outta here!
I have been thinking about leaving a journal in the wall for those who are to come. Under the wallpaper I found a bunch of dated signatures, one of which I was able to preserve from 1941. If those walls could talk...
I will post any cool finds. I did use an ancient bag of wheat paste from the basement to reattach paper on the ceiling and it worked fantastic! Today you would probably have to buy some expensive, toxic substance when wheat paste works like a charm.... and stays good for years!
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:03 PM   #8
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That is THE coolest thing! That would be awesome to find such treasures in your house!!

BTW, I think the picture of the "little girl" looks more like elf boots on a big belly...LOL
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:32 PM   #9
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I've found lots of cigarette packs used as shims - a split yardstick used as filler - and some other odds and ends. Our house is 100+ years old and honestly, the coolest thing I find is the the old hand hewn wood. I pulled an 48 inch x 28 inch solid plank out of a closet.

I've tuck treasures into just about every project I do - usually MD state quarters. And somewhere in my house is a $100 bill in a zip-loc bag - but I'm not telling where it is.

And like most of the craftsmen that have worked on the house over the years, I sign and date my work with pencil. That way future generations know who to curse.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:22 PM   #10
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When my sister and her husband bought a house in the North East, they found several loose floorboards in the attic. Under these they found 6 very old looking shotguns each in its own sock with a cleaning kit next to each one. They contacted the previous owner and told her what they found and asked if she wanted them back. She told them "that SOB (her late husband) told me he got rid of those things and now I find he lied to me. Well thank you very much for that memory I have to live with for the rest of my life, and as for those stupid guns you can trash them for all I care"

They went to several gun dealers and evidentially sold them to the highest quoter.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances
I've found lots of cigarette packs used as shims - a split yardstick used as filler - and some other odds and ends. Our house is 100+ years old and honestly, the coolest thing I find is the the old hand hewn wood. I pulled an 48 inch x 28 inch solid plank out of a closet.

I've tuck treasures into just about every project I do - usually MD state quarters. And somewhere in my house is a $100 bill in a zip-loc bag - but I'm not telling where it is.

And like most of the craftsmen that have worked on the house over the years, I sign and date my work with pencil. That way future generations know who to curse.
Excellent idea on the state quarters- I'm going to copy that one. Not the $100 though.
I'm going to stick notes in the walls or keep a journal. Notes scattered would have a better chance of getting discovered.
Since I'm painting I can't sign the plaster like Dorothy did. I had to save hers, it was the best
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigD9
When my sister and her husband bought a house in the North East, they found several loose floorboards in the attic. Under these they found 6 very old looking shotguns each in its own sock with a cleaning kit next to each one. They contacted the previous owner and told her what they found and asked if she wanted them back. She told them "that SOB (her late husband) told me he got rid of those things and now I find he lied to me. Well thank you very much for that memory I have to live with for the rest of my life, and as for those stupid guns you can trash them for all I care"

They went to several gun dealers and evidentially sold them to the highest quoter.
Holy cow! Try to be nice....
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:22 PM   #13
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Treasure hunt


I found those flat nails in a section of oak flooring that I had to replace. I don't know how long ago they stopped using that type of nail.

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