Preservation Update: Unearthed Objects

Anyone knows an old house contains secrets, and the Cottage is no exception. As a teaser for May — National Preservation Month — we’re unveiling some objects never seen before to the public that were found during various projects and restoration of the Cottage. Consider it a taste of what will be on display in our exhibit space in May: hidden objects.

Senior Preservationist Jeff Larry found himself in the Cottage’s attic on a cold winter’s day for a thermostat adjustment. What he rediscovered was a box full of objects unearthed during the decade of preserving the Cottage:

1. Carter’s Ink Bottle from the late 19th/early 20th century. Found by a mason under a bluestone slab near the south verandah. The Boston based company started in 1858 and was once the largest ink manufacturer in the world.

2. A remarkably intact box of Uneeda Biscuits from the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) discovered after opening a bricked-in fireplace in the Cottage dining room. Inside the box were several chicken bones wrapped in a 1921 newspaper. Uneeda Biscuits were famous for their patented cardboard carton and waxed inner wrapper as well as developing one of the earliest successful advertising campaigns.

3. A box of Richmond Straight Cut Cigarettes also found inside a bricked-in fireplace. Originally produced by Richmond based Allen & Ginter Tobacco Co., the brand became part of the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. in 1911.

4. A bottle (sans neck) from James Thorpe – “Importer and Dealer in Foreign and Domestic Wines and Liquors” Advertisements from the 1880s lists the store at 812 F Street. Also found by masons under a bluestone slab.

5. A list of Rules of the “Lincoln Guest House.” No Hard Liquors and Guests Will Not Entertain in Their Room! The Cottage is located on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home (founded 1852) and has seen many uses through the years, including a stint as a No Fun Allowed Guest House.

The entire text:

“Lincoln Guest House

Charge per person is $2.00

Children under 5 years are accommodated free

Guests will not entertain in their room

Check out time is 10:00 AM

Length of stay is limited to 3 days

Hard liquors are not allowed on premises

If you find you cannot arrive on the day of your reservation, a call to the guest house by 6 PM will release you form your guaranteed reservation. If no all is received by 6 PM you will be charged for the room held for you.”

For more hidden discoveries, check out our display starting May 1st in the Visitor Education Center.

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