Hid­den trea­sures come to light

His­tory en­thu­si­ast finds a num­ber of mys­te­ri­ous and in­trigu­ing items while ren­o­vat­ing house

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD

A newly pur­chased home has be­come a house full of trea­sures, as well as a lit­tle bit of mys­tery, for his­tory en­thu­si­ast Ge­orge Dal­ton.

Dal­ton and his wife Estelle have spent the past year ren­o­vat­ing a for­mer farm­house on Beach Light Road just out­side of Vic­to­ria.

While they bought the house par­tially for its his­tor­i­cal qual­ity, Dal­ton didn’t re­al­ize just how much her­itage it con­tained.

He has since un­cov­ered a num­ber of in­trigu­ing an­tiques.

“This has been like a gath­er­ing of the ar­ti­facts,” said Dal­ton, a past pres­i­dent of the Summerside and Area His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

The most strik­ing dis­cov­ery came just over a week ago when Dal­ton and his grand­son found an old cheese­box in the at­tic.

With “quite a buzz” in the town, sev­eral mem­bers of the com­mu­nity and Dal­ton’s fam­ily gath­ered to see him open the sealed box.

In­side was a coat made of black Per­sian lamb fur, as well as match­ing mit­tens and a rab­bit fur hat.

The items, which were all in “re­mark­able” con­di­tion, were also wrapped in a Mon­treal news­pa­per dated 1921.

“So that gives us a date of when the con­tents went into the box and we had a lot of fun open­ing it… it was like an Oak Is­land trea­sure,” said Dal­ton, with the dis­cov­ery also rais­ing some ques­tions. “Why was it bun­dled up (for nearly 100 years)?”

The house, which was pre­vi­ously known as The Lea Home, was orig­i­nally two struc­tures lo­cated on the shore­line. The struc­tures were joined to­gether and moved to the present lo­ca­tion in 1908.

Some of Dal­ton’s dis­cov­er­ies date back to be­fore the 1900’s.

He has found a num­ber of re­ceipts for wool and other items from the 1870’s, which are also in ex­cel­lent shape.

Along with the re­ceipts, Dal­ton also found two bags of wool cloth­ing as well as a ma­hogany box con­tain­ing a num­ber of early rug-hooking tools.

“They’re very spe­cial be­cause they’re very old,” said Dal­ton, not­ing that they also pro­vide some valu­able his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. “The sig­nif­i­cance of this is that we’re able to see how big of a busi­ness wool was around the county here.”

An­other dis­cov­ery has been a photo al­bum con­tain­ing pic­tures of the home’s pre­vi­ous own­ers as far back as the 1870’s.

What makes the pic­tures no­table is that ev­ery one con­tains de­tailed de­scrip­tions of the names and ages of those in the pic­tures.

Brenda Boudreau, chair of the Vic­to­ria His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, said see­ing those de­tails was “amaz­ing.”

“When you find an al­bum of pic­tures with this much in­for­ma­tion on the back, that’s a real trea­sure,” said Boudreau. “With old pho­tos you find in a box usu­ally there’s no iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

Dal­ton said he is sort­ing through the dis­cov­er­ies and sug­gested pos­si­bly open­ing up the home to com­mu­nity mem­bers and tourists in­ter­ested in see­ing the items.

“The big ben­e­fit would be in the in­ter­est of the com­mu­nity and vis­i­tors who want to learn about our his­tory,” he said, “This was a very his­toric home… and as Is­lan­ders, we’ve very com­pas­sion­ate about our his­tory.”

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/THE GUARDIAN

Brenda Boudreau, left, Estelle Dal­ton and Ge­orge Dal­ton hold up some of the items found in a home the Dal­ton’s pur­chased last year near Vic­to­ria-By-The-Sea. In this pic­ture, Boudreau, who is chair of the Vic­to­ria His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, is hold­ing a pair of black Per­sian lamb fur mit­tens, while Estelle is hold­ing the match­ing coat and Ge­orge is hold­ing the cheese­box they were found in. The items were had been sealed in the cheese­box in the early 1920s.

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