When you move into a new home or take over an empty retail space, you might expect that the previous owner removed any trace of their existence. But the people who took over rooms in these buildings found that’s not always the case…
While renovating or re-decorating, these new tenants discovered some surprising possessions and details left behind. Even better, these 20 amusing finds told fascinating stories about people from the recent past.
1. Ancient switches: She moved into a building still equipped with its original electrical switches from 1909! Of course, these were kept around just as a way to preserve history. They’d be way overtaxed — and a bit unsafe — today.
2. A cemetery: If there’s one way to guarantee your business is haunted from the day it opens to the day it closes, it’s to preserve a 19th-century graveyard in the basement. Still, this was the respectful thing to do.
3. Good vibes: He found an old “hippy” floral when he pulled up the flooring of his home. Painted with bright colors and swirling patterns, this was definitely something worth preserving with a little varnish.
4. Spooky chains: Hidden inside the wall of his 1930’s-era home was a chain with no apparent purpose. Some speculated it was part of an old dumbwaiter; another suggested it was the stoker for a coal furnace.
5. Hearts galore: He moved into a “loving” home completely preserved from the 1970s — just look at the shag carpet lining around that heart-shaped bathtub. Who knew they actually built tubs like this?
6. A rock and a hard place: The huge sandstone boulder pressing into his bedroom wasn’t exactly a surprise when he moved into the new home. But as a left-behind centerpiece, it really gave the room that “old Welsh cottage” feel.
7. Used razors: In the left-behind medicine cabinet, he found a slot labeled “razor blades.” In the 1950s, you disposed of your old razors by pressing them through the slot, sending them to rest inside the wall.
8. The milkman always rings twice: A homeowner discovered this milk door from back in the day in their new house. Milkmen used to slide the bottles through a matching door on the outside of the house to ensure the milk didn’t get left out in the heat and spoil.
9. Giant Monopoly: After pulling up the carpet, he discovered an at-home, get-rich-quick scheme: just pass “GO” for an easy $200! But the best part? With Monopoly-inspired designs this cool, he didn’t need to replace the carpet.
10. Spike was here: Either the previous homeowners had a pooch who found a far more permanent way to mark his territory, or they loved their pooch so much they enshrined his paw print in the fabric of the home!
11. Manual elevator crank: Long ago, elevators used a hand crank like this to manually raise the lift to the appropriate floor. One new homeowner found this 100-year-old crank in his new apartment.
12. Mousehole: Did you ever watch Jerry the mouse endlessly foil Tom the cat on Saturday morning cartoons? He used his mouse hole, which looked strikingly similar to those a new tenant found in his house, built in 1741.
13. Vintage ads: Construction workers at the iconic Times Square in New York City uncovered a hotel advertisement from a century ago, offering rooms for $1. In 2018, depending on the season, one night there would cost at least $200!
14. Hidden basement: On the day she moved into her new apartment, she discovered a trap door just outside the bathroom. Tools topped a stairway that led into a cool, stone basement she didn’t know about when she signed the lease. Bonus!
15. A creepy tunnel: She found a mile-long tunnel flanked with drawings of spooky ghouls underneath her apartment building. Nicknames for the tunnel included the “Death Tunnel” and “The Tunnel of Nightmares.”
16. Forgotten wells: Peppered throughout England are pubs built on top of old wells, and, instead of destroying history, engineers incorporated those wells into the tables.
17. A secret safe: No, that isn’t old cake! Tucked away in a loose panel in a bathroom mirror left over from previous tenants, this homeowner found a secret safe, which contained rare coins and a wedding ring!
18. It’s in the vault: Many people avoid setting foot inside the vitamin section this Walgreens, which repurposed the high-security vault of the bank that once inhabited the building. Vitamin-C supplements aren’t worth the risk of getting trapped!
19. Another vault: Apparently, Walgreens weren’t the only ones to move into an old bank! After moving into what used to be a bank, one newlywed couple repurposed this vault into additional basement storage.
20. Vintage wallpaper: Beneath three layers of wallpaper in a long-abandoned farmhouse, this homeowner found a layer of vintage space exploration wallpaper. Did this room belong to a kid with astronomical dreams?
Amazing what you can learn about people just by poking through what they abandoned or covered up! Which of these things left behind would you be most excited to find?
Share these old building discoveries with your friends below.