Urban Archeologist: Keep Chasing Leprechauns

Going on a St. Patrick's Day treasure hunt.

There is nothing worse than following a trail of tag sale signs that lead to nowhere, or somewhere that may have only been obvious to the person that posted them. This past Saturday, I must have circled back twice before deciding that I was chasing a leprechaun. The next sale was even more depressing, after winding through several Ridgefield neighborhoods I discovered a vehicle blockade covered in signs pronouncing the sale was “Sold Out!” On a Saturday morning!?

Fortunately, another Ridgefield sale came to the rescue with an odd collection of… Hairnets! No snickering, I am secure enough in my manhood that picking up a few hairnets will still allow me to have a beer with the guys... I just won’t tell them. Actually, the collection revealed their history (from real hair to nylon) with packaging full of early 20th century styles, graphic art and false promises. The owner was giving them up to move south; I guess she was really traveling light. With her permission I photographed the set and now they are on display, here, with a brief history.

I figured that hairnets would be the best that I could cover, but today was St. Patrick’s Day and I almost forgot my lucky charm. Once I picked up my 8-year-old partner in crime from her morning activity and fed her lunch, we were on the road looking for the next “dig.” On the way, we drove by a historic site that has been refurbished recently and is now a nice picnic and hiking spot. I asked my daughter that, instead of a tag sale, would she like to explore some old factory ruins. She enthusiastically replied, “Yes!”   

I am proud of my adventurous daughter, who is always willing to join her daddy in his semi-precarious thrill to dig through the past. Ten minutes and two fieldstone foundations later, we stumbled across a pot o’ gold: a 50-plus year-old bottle dump!

We treaded lightly around glass shards and mysterious bits of metal and began poking with sticks to get a sense of where this dump began and where it ended. Clearly the victim of previous diggers, we searched for over an hour trying to find something with enough of a label to determine the dump’s age and origin.

My keen-eyed daughter made the find of the day with her intuitive sense to search beneath a sand-packed stump. She and I uncovered 18 cans of a long-gone brew called “Harvard Ale.” We dug with joy trying to find a can with enough of the label still intact. Along the way we uncovered a fine Borden’s milk bottle and a pre-1953 Pepsi bottle with a glass embossed label.

The question is – How far back does this dump go? Where did it come from? We will have to go back and figure that out. We didn’t catch the leprechaun, but he led us to his treasure in the form of a true dig that would make any archeologist, young or old, feel rich. A Happy St. Patrick’s Day indeed!

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story.  You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »