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Top 10 Most Interesting Things Found During Renovations

An unexpected adventure sometimes presents itself when doing a renovation on an older building or home. Whether you’re tearing down a wall, excavating in the yard, or looking into any area of your house that hasn’t seen the light of day in a long time, there’s always a chance to come across something interesting left or hidden there by the home’s previous owners. Here are 10 plus 2 to contemplate.

Some renovators have found gold and treasure behind their walls -- the not so lucky ones have skeletons in their closets.

Some renovators have found gold and treasure behind their walls -- the not so lucky ones have skeletons in their closets.

Old Bones

1 Workers found human bones buried in the walls of Harvard’s Holden Chapel while working on renovations. The remains were discovered by Rachel Sexton who researched the building’s history, discovering that between 1782 and 1850 it was used as an anatomy and dissection lecture hall for the Medical School. “Some of the bones have metal pieces sticking out of them as if someone was trying to construct a skeleton.”

2 In the small town of Eldon, Iowa, a man was digging under his home and stumbled upon a kettle of gold coins. It’s suspected these were the coins the government paid the Indians to purchase Iowa.

3 A couple remodeling their kitchen in St. Paul, Minnesota found nearly $40K in cash and guns, including several Tommy guns, behind a wall. St. Paul was a weekend hangout of Chicago gangsters in the 20s and 30s.

4 A man found $23,000 of old silver coins while renovating his kitchen.

5 Under two layers of linoleum a woman found The Des Moines Register with a short article Amelia Earhart wrote and some Nazi articles. She then found a cistern under the house she had no idea was there.

6 A man remodeling a house in Omaha found three trash bags of steel Schmidt beer cans from the early 70s with different outdoor scenes, individually wrapped in newspaper.

Strange Karma
7 A man recites this bizarre story of serendipity: A business was tearing out walls for a remodel near downtown Ames when they found a wallet. The wallet had been stolen from the storyteller’s mother 30 years previous while she worked in a retail store a few blocks away.

8 A man working at a campground found $40K, a benelli nova, and a few handguns in the walls of an old abandoned trailer.

9 Hidden behind the small bead-board door of a stately 110-year-old Minneapolis home was found 15 jugs and 30 bottles of gin, cognac, Scotch whiskey, Jamaican rum, French brandy, vermouth and medicinal bitters. Bottle stickers indicate the buyer paid 1919 liquor tax – one year before Prohibition. Labels include: Martini e Rossi, James Buchanan, John Walker & Sons and John Dewar & Sons.

10 A man remodeling his mom’s old house opened a walled-in staircase with a small room behind it. In the small room was an entire moonshine distillery.

Bombs Away
11 A 70-year-old man in St. Francis, Wisconsin was remodeling his bathroom where he found in the wall a live, 20-inch Korean War missile. He and his wife carried the missile outside then called the police. The bomb squad detonated the bomb at the Department of Public Works. Neighbors said the sons of the previous owners served in the Korean War and often brought home souvenirs from the war.

12 Here’s the best discovery for the 4th of July. A man writes: “My biggest find was a very well preserved old box of sparklers from the 1930s.”

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide.


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