History Hidden in the Walls

One of the neat things about renovating an old house is finding all of the hidden treasures. Most of this stuff can be found literally stuffed in the walls and ceiling. I imagine some of it just found it’s way in the cracks of the floor, but other stuff may have been placed there. Take for example this little item I found when tearing down the old porch. The old mason jar still sits where it was left many, many years ago.


I have never run across anything valuable, like a pot of gold, or a Bugatti Veyron, but I have found some stuff that is pretty neat. Over the years I have kept it all in a box in the hopes that one day I could display at least some of it. When we found a pair of the old auditorium seats and installed them in the mudroom, Sara and I thought it would be a good place to also display the house’s history. I don’t know exactly how old the house is, but records from the Bangor Museum and History Center point to the house being built somewhere in the late 1910’s to early 20’s. Here is a picture taken by a tax assessor during the great depression. This is the only picture I have of this house before we bought it. I would love more!


Compare that with the way that the house looks today (minus the photoshoppping of the shutters, which we will now call shutter photoshoppery).

What if.....

So what else did I find in the walls? Lots of stuff! I collected more marbles than anything else. They seemed to be in every wall I tore apart.


I also found ads for Model T’s, invitations to local events, birth certificates, pay stubs, fishing licenses, receipts, bottle caps, a chisel, playing cards, stamps, and lots more. The oldest thing I found was a receipt for a screw pulley from downtown Bangor hardware store, the Haynes and Chalmers Company. As you can see, it was dated July 14th, 1909.


The Lone Ranger


While not really “old”, I found this piece of newspaper kinda neat. Castro and the mention of a French invasion. Bay of Pigs maybe?


I also found this pay stub from 1939. This was especially cool since the address on the original envelope was our address. Since I had found other items with the name Mr. Arthur E. Stewart, I could now piece together that he worked at an ice cream factory in the late 30’s. I have heard that there was an ice cream factory in our neighborhood, but I haven’t confirmed that it was the same one where he worked. And doing a bit more digging, I found that he was one of 9 children, but passed away in 1998 in Florida at the age of 83. I would love to learn more about this family and if there are any surviving relatives still in the area.

Mr. Arthur Emery Stewart’s pay stub


Donald Everett Stewart (1924-1974) Social Security card (Arthur’s brother, and 1 of 9!)

Donald Everett

Arthur Williamson Stewart (1889-1969) hunting license, and combo hunting/fishing license. Thanks for keeping it legal Mr. Stewart!



Neat, huh?

So what do you do with all of this stuff? Frame it of course!


And here it is hanging on the wall, with the freshly painted window trim!


So, what do you do with all the hidden treasure you find in your house? Did you ever feel entitled to free ice cream for life when you found secret ice cream manufacturers treasures? Neither did I, but wouldn’t THAT be sweet!?




Filed under Decorating

4 responses to “History Hidden in the Walls

  1. So cool! I love that you framed it all and put it with your “historic” (or what one day will be historic) auditorium seats. Such a neat thing to find treasures like this!

    • Harold L Stewart

      This is awesome!1 I am one of the two remaining members of this family.I live in Bel Air Md. and my sister lives in Mass. I am 93 but it would not be proper to divulge her age,but she was born two years later. Yes,this was quite a family The boys were all outstanding athletes at Bangor High and the girls were terrific homemakers helping MA keeping the family strong and healthy.All fours boys served in the military during world war two,.all serving overseas at the same time, and MA and PA were honored,because of this.by the Gov. of Maine at a luncheon in Augusta My parents sold this house in the early 40″s and bought a house on Third St. Same neighborhood. When I found this yesterday on my computer, the greatest and happiest feeling came over me.My sister called me from Mass, all excited because she just found out about it yesterday.also. I want to thank you for your interest and kindness in this wonderful find. You made two “older people* very happy.

      • Matt

        Hi Mr.Stewart! I just wanted to send a quick note and let you know that I appreciated your comment regarding our house in Bangor, and the history that we have found hidden in the walls. If you should ever find yourself back in Bangor, Maine, please feel free to drop by. I would love to show you around. And I’m sure you don’t need the address!

        Take care,
        134 Fourth Street

  2. Matt, How wonderful!! Thank you for valuing history and the story-lives of the family that lived there before you. Looking forward to reading more!

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