Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blast From The Past

I've been stuck on watching two shows lately; Take Home Chef and If Walls Could Talk. Can you imagine Take Home Gardener? Ha ha! Accosting an unsuspecting customer at a garden center, buying plants and then rushing home to their yard to redo it. I think the host should be able to ask only one question: "How much yard ya got?"

As for 'If Walls Could Talk', well, I like that one just because I have something really cool in common with it-the surprising things you find hiding inside really old houses. We found some! Really cool old things, that is.

The house we bought is over 200 years old and used to be an apple orchard way back when. We found a piece of old newspaper in the wall of a new addition. New as in an addition bedroom built onto the existing house in 1818!! The paper was really cool, and you just had to laugh when reading it; 'So-and-so visited so-and-so for tea at 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, June 8th.' My, my, my-gossip in the local paper. It also mentioned that ladies should stay away from a certain area of town since there would be prisoners working on the railroad on such-and-such days. And an 1818 advertisement for pantaloons! I would have assumed that to be a bit risque back then, what with having a picture and all. How very scandalous!

Anyway, since the scanner has decided to cooperate lately, I thought I'd save some of the other interesting things we've found in the walls through 20 years of DIY remodeling. (Don't try it yourself folks, not fun!)
Grocery bill for Henry Kitchen (previous owner of house and apple orchard) from 1891. Wow, notice how Pillsbury was on the advertising bandwagon even way back then?
The top of a box of harness snaps from Oneida Community Limited in Niagara Falls. (I have a sneaking suspicion that the 'Oneida Community' started in Niagara Falls and then moved to Oneida to make silverware, not directly from Vermont, though none of their history documents this)
In 1892 Henry hired a Harvesting company from Chicago for $123.00 (adjusted a few times to $124.29 on November 19th, then to $129.00 (no date noted). Interest sucked even back then! Wow, for 1892, that was a lot of money!)
In 1892, coal meant heat for the winter. I wish we had the price. The original furnace that burned this coal is still in our cellar!
Finally, this is what checks used to look like in the 1800's. Cool or what?! The bank is still there, well, sorta. I need to research it some more.

There was another store receipt found in a wall, but it was so fragile that even with us being as careful as humanly possible, it pretty much turned into confetti. But, it was either leave it there to be destroyed or take a chance, so we chose the latter.

Now that I've documented them, it's back to the fireproof box for our 'wall treasures.'

Ain't history cool?! I have a customer bill for apples too, so I'll have to check into the orchard a bit more. A few trees still exist on the neighbors property. Think I should snatch some seeds?


Sissy said...

Facinating! I have always thought the history behind a personal item is so intruiging! I think you should look around for some of those apple seeds!

Apple said...

What neat finds. I haven't thought about the Oneida Community history in years. Scandalous! From local commune to an international company with a name recognized everywhere. It's fun to look at the general store recipe and see what they bought over a 4 month period.

Kerri said...

That really is interesting.
Now that I've enlarged the general store receipt I see that we're probably very close in the blogoshere!
Definitely fascinating finds!
Are there no apple trees left on your property?

Rurality said...

Neat! Not too many houses that old in Alabama. I think the war did away with most of them.

Carol said...

That is way cool to find that stuff in the walls of your house. My house was built just around 10 years ago, so anything anyone finds in the future will be what I put there! I did write some stuff on the wall studs before the wall board went up, so someone would find it in the future, and hopefully think it was interesting.