Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Treasure Hunting (and more dirt)

The digging continues...seemingly taking forever. But, having dug my share of trenches and holes, I know how this goes. Backbreaking, slow work. There's really nothing like a well-dug trench, and these guys are clearly practiced at it.

The ones out front are pretty straightforward, the ones under the existing floor are much more of a challenge. We are adding a surprisingly large number of piers, shear stemwalls, and support pads under the existing foundation.

The girls really got a kick out of crawling around under the house...quite literally. It's hard to tell from the picture, but Rebecca and Elizabeth are actually way UNDER the old foundation stemwall - there's a long trench that ends in a deep square pit about 4 feet on a side under the old foundation along the driveway. They can both sit in there quite comfortably, literally under the concrete footing of the existing foundation.

Naturally, a bunch of the old piping was exactly in the way of the new foundation walls, so a pile of it had to be yanked out. Some was already abandoned after the last kitchen upgrade, but the soil pipe had to be split and removed even though it will be going back in about the same place - there needs to be a sleeve installed in the foundation for it to pass through and not shear if the house settles later.

The girls also went on a major explore under the house, popping up in our old master bedroom. Through still another giant hole in the floor.

And, they found TREASURES! Elizabeth was checking out the area near the old fireplace, and noticed a sparkly object in the ash pile - an old bottle:

She and Rebecca continued to dig, and at the bottom of the pile there were some other interesting treasures - milk delivery receipts from 1945, an old matchbook cover from the "Gold Seal Creamery" in Palo Alto (now long gone), and some cool Bank of America "Christmas Club" deposit receipts - note the "50-cents per week" option below:

Cathy was able to find some interesting history of the Gold Seal Creamery on the web:
Indeed, in the first half of the 20th century, creamery plants and soda fountains thrived in Palo Alto. Piers Dairy, the Golden State Creamery, Easton Creamery, Altamont Creamery, University Creamery and Gold Seal Creamery all did brisk business.

It turns out it is now a Thai restaurant called Krung Siam -

View Larger Map

but the original facade is still there on University Avenue. We got some really good frozen yogurt two doors down just tonight, at a new place called Red Mango. Rebecca wanted to go in and tell them the story, but the restaurant looked pretty busy.

Now I'm wondering if the demo guys shoveled a bunch of cool stuff out of the ash pit when they were cleaning would have been cool to see what else was there.

The girls were VERY excited to find important archeological artifacts under the house. We are on the lookout for more...

Here's another slide show with some additional shots:


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