Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bottle Digging: Rock & Roll

Earlier this Spring, my younger bro and I set out for a weekend dig in Southern Cal to see if we could locate some old privies and find a few noteworthy old bottles. We never would have foreseen or predicted what would happen on our weekend adventure....In this episode we bring to you an unexpected digging experience, Rock & Roll!

Summary of Day One...Can you say ABD-ed, circa 1985??

Time to catch some sleep after a long hot day at the local luxury motel. Check out the air conditioning unit....I can't wait til someone lists this thing on eBay as being in "MINT" condition right??? The rest of the room and amenities were in similar condition, yikes! We should've slept on a dirt lot somewhere. We felt lucky enough to avoid catching any bed bugs.
Some of the features on this house looked pretty "late," but an old looking porch, architectural style, and windows...
Our 1895 Maps told us it was at least that old, with the side of the house suggesting solid 1880's....
After an hour or more of probing we finally poked out floater hole with a layer around the 6 foot level. It was time to open it up and see what we could find....
Lots and lots of huge boulder rocks from the 6 to 9 foot level....
We figured out what people mean by "hitting rock bottom," and NO bottles. A non-ABD floater hole with no more than a few broken shards.
But wait! While peeling one of the walls high up at the 4 foot! A totally rad 1880's-90's champagne bottle, NOT! But seriously, we've never been this excited about finding an unembossed champagne. Bit hey, at least the hole kicked us one large-sized intact bottle....
Then the real fun began, as Rob & Gerty (the homeowners) made us ribs, chips & guacamole, and cold beer! To our surprise they also have a full-blown Karaoke set up in their backyard, so we sang the bottle blues....Out with the ROCKS and in with the ROLL!
Two brothers, Two days, a few outhouses, one champagne, gracious hosts, free dinner, beer, and karaoke....PRICELESS!
We can't wait for our next bottle adventure. Rock On!


  1. Man, the Dogs must have been Howling that night.

  2. When in doubt, pull out the famous Puffy P siding book to help date the structure ! If that house were up here in Nor-Cal, it would be around late 80's. Things may be different down there.........

  3. Looks like you guys met some nice folks and had a great time. Often some of the best most memerobale things that can happen on digs are not always bottles. The fish scale side-wall on the gable end and the v-rustic siding make this one circa 1890 in my book. Great story and nice pics J.F.

  4. I think you are very near correct, G.P. I wish I could say it was built on March 3rd, 1886, but have no clues of such details. It's at least 1894, as it is fully built out w/ addition, fence, property lines, and map box by the 1895 Sanborn maps. I wish the hole could have provided us with some more "dating" clues. If I had to guess the age, I'd say about 1888 give or take a few years. More research & nearby neighborhood finds to follow & put together more of the puzzle.

  5. By the looks of that old beat up motel room, you might find an older privy behind it! :-)

  6. Don't feel too badly, J.F., it happens to all diggers, whether they admit it or not. When I dig a pit I make sure to measure carefully and mark in on the map so as not to redig my own pit after the property is cleared or landmarks are removed. On one occasion I did exactly that, reopened a pit we had dug back in the '70s. Yep, there was the same junk we had filled it with. All homes were gone by then, trees removed and everything had been graded but undeveloped and gone to weeds.
    A few "blips" along the way are just part of the digging experience. We are in need of some slow soaking rain up this way.


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