1902 Victorian

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Secret Compartment

We heard this weekend that some old houses have a compartment inside the newel post of the staircase where the owners kept blueprints and other papers.

Some new neighbors who are restoring a Folk Victorian down the street came over to tour the house on Sunday, and they had a lot of ideas about it. The newel post thing was something they suggested when they saw ours, which does have a cap-looking thing nailed on top. I think they saw something about it on TV, either This Old House or If Walls Could Talk.

Though I doubt our luck is good enough to find blueprints inside, I still think it's worth prying off the cap and taking a look.



Has anyone heard of this or found anything like that?

9 Comments:

Patricia W said...

That sounds so neat! I hope you find something awesome inside.

Unfortunately, my house has been so totally molested even the lower box style newel post is missing! Only the middle and top newels have survived.

6:50 PM  
Greg said...

I thought maybe you were going to tell us you found something.

Hmmm, I have 4 hollow newel posts. I might have to get out the old pry bar.

8:01 PM  
StuccoHouse said...

Huh, I have to put in a new newel post....maybe I will do that so future owners have something to hunt for. I don't have blue prints, but maybe some photos...

9:38 PM  
amanda said...

I've heard that too- several of my friends mentioned it to me, and another said that she knows of several houses in Annapolis, MD where owners found blueprints there during restoration. Our staircase has been relocated, so I doubt that there is still anything in there, even if there once was. We've got to take the cap off of ours and tighten it up though, so we'll find out one of these days.

9:11 AM  
Kristin said...

Our staircase was added later, we think in the 20s or 30s. Maybe we could find info about the additions? Any info at all would be welcome.

Another of our neighbors found an old tin-type photo wedged between two bricks in a hearth. No fair.

10:24 AM  
Becky said...

I had heard that too a couple of years ago so we excitedly came out to the house and pried the top off the post. Nothing. I was really disapointed. My plan was to fill it with my own stash (copy of the web site, photos, history of the house, etc.) so if someday someone down the road did the same thing they wouldn't be disappointed. Only problem is Dale and Tim sealed it up with out me knowing and now if I tear it off again I will probably mess up the finish. -sigh-

10:36 AM  
Blair said...

I have hear this too and not just with newel posts, but within walls. We have this weird area of teh kitchen that has a corner that has been sealed up so that what should be a square kitchen ends up having an extra 3 foot wall across one corner. I have heard that things can be hidden in there too... I have put things in the walls as we work on our remodeling, a cork from our first bottle of wine, a letter signed by a group of women I had over. the outline of a handprint behind a base board... and will do more as I go.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous said...

There was a circa-1900 home that belonged to a nearby town's first doctor, then was subsequently a newspaper office, flower shop and antique store. When the current owners had it moved to another lot and restored it, they found old medical journals, really old newspapers, bits of ancient quilts and photos. I guess some walls do talk. It's sure worth a look in your post just to see.

– Texas T-bone

8:05 AM  
Newels Antique Blog said...

Never thought to look under there

10:42 PM  

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