280 Washington Avenue: What They Found

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Last week we showed you what the 10,000-square-foot brownstone at 280 Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill looked like before and after its recent three-year renovation. (Bonus: Here’s a HOTD post from 2006 when the house had been on the market for almost two years.) Now, to cap it off, we’ve got some fascinating artifacts that the owners found in the process. Click thru for the owner’s description and lots of photos…

A little background…a room in the cellar had a built-in cabinet at one end. I noticed that the bottom was missing. There wasn’t a base. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the floor was cut around the cabinet. I could see into the narrow crack enough to know that the cabinet was also below the level of the floor. I was very excited by the idea that something could be in the lower section. Armed with a flashlight and an ax and accompanied by two adventurous teenage boys, I chopped a large hole into the floor. In the boys went. The false floor sat about two feet above the original floor. To our disappointment, there was nothing to be found in the cabinet. My nephew turned his flashlight to the area behind him. Jackpot! Up came piles and piles of papers, all belonging to Walter Rappelyea Davies. Many are in pristine condition. The business records of the Brooklyn Committee on the Prevention of Tuberculosis are the bulk of the find. The papers include payroll, purchases, meeting minutes, correspondence, the records of the Susquehanna Day Boat (which carried consumptives), details of exhibits and public health campaigns, research and more. There are also leases and letters from tenants of the buildings that were managed by Mr. Davies. I have many, many leases from addresses on Marcy Ave. And, so much more…

Super cool. Have readers made similar archaeological discoveries in their own excavations?
Photo Gallery: 280 Washington Reno Revealed [Brownstoner]
280 Washington Avenue: The Before Photos [Brownstoner]

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