It all began as a passenger looking out the
window, while driving the back roads in a minivan heading for a CAW union
drive at Stackpole. I
spotted an abandoned property, but it was early March,
so the bottles would have to wait.
It was May of 1999 and my brother in law
Darren and I quietly searched the barn, several sheds and
the basement, attic and porches of the house on the
property. In sum total Darren found one F. Matthews hutchison from Brampton with the bottom piece missing
behind a shed. The two wells on the property were water
topped. While we continued to look for evidence of an old
dump, Darren decided to start digging into some metal
that was sticking out of the grass in the middle of a
foundation, that was partly visible. When we first
noticed the stone foundation barely exposed above the
grass we both mentally logged it as a possibility.
Well it did not take long before
Darren had scratched his way into a pocket of 1920's heavy
glass machine made pops. (Mason Beverage, Preston
Ontario, Kiss Beverage, Kitchener Ontario and the clear
Crushes bottles) I joined him 3 meters east and
immediately began to toss out huge rocks, metal and
1950's glass and some plastic. One hour later my huge
hole was twice the size of Darren's and all I had was
four 1940's cokes, a brown lysol, three large clear Nujol
and one small one. We both dug our way to the north
foundation wall and then down. The partly collapsed wall
made for heavy lifting and tricky digging as more large
rocks would come loose. Darren, having filled his first
bag with sodas and was now working on his second big bag.
He had just dug his second piece of pottery, (a small
open crock with piece missing, no marking and a flowered
jug marked W.E. Welding Brantford with a hole in it).
Close to it I pulled out a very heavy Medalta chicken feeder. These were our first
pottery pieces, so even in poor condition we were
It was nearing the five hour
mark on the property so we agreed to dig for one hour
more. I finished up with a (brown) Kepler,(aqua)
Wampole, (aqua) Imperial Extract co. Toronto,(clear)
Perfect seal, (brown) E & J Burke, a small
(aqua) Rawleighs,(aqua) Northrope Lyman co. Toronto, and a
1920's Nugrape Soda (already had one) which I gave to
Darren, who gave me two Sodas. We headed home excited
that we had a place to dig and surely be rewarded again.
After work (I finish at 2:30pm) I went
alone, and continue to dig east along the north wall, and
made the effort to dig to the bottom of the clay floor of
the foundation (six feet). My finds became a lot more
interesting. I dug the following embossed: 2
"Rosedale dairy" Brampton (block letter),
quarts, "Farmers dairy," Toronto quarter pint
and quarter pint bowling style, "Pine Hill E.
Legg," Toronto quarter pint, 2 "Ravenswood
dairy," Toronto quarter pint, "Acme Farmers
dairy ltd," Toronto quarter pint, "Acme dairy
ltd," Toronto quarter pint, "Roselawn farms Mel
3566," Toronto quarter pint, 3 "Brampton
dairy," quarter pints, "White oak farm phone
jct 0198," Toronto quarter pint. It started to snow,
my hole offered no shelter, and although it was hard to
leave, the four centimetres of snow on my head had me
packing. Darren received my doubles, but was concerned
that at my digging pace I would have the place emptied
out by the end of the week. I agreed to wait till the
It was a nice bright Saturday morning and
for once garage sales were not on our mind. Darren
starting digging west along the north wall, and I
continued east. I was having cave-ins so I had no choice
but to dig the top layers of trash again. It was none
stop crap bottles, I was throwing them by hand because it
was faster than a shovel. Darren was more a less doing
the same, accept his mutterings were becoming loud and
non stop, until he said "screw this I'm starting a
new hole". Darren started digging on the south wall
going east with me. The race was on and it ended six feet
down, half way between the south and north walls and
still plenty to dig before we reached the east wall.
Although we were trying to mark out a common border, it
felt like a race because we were so close to each other.
So what was six feet down at the end of this race? A one
of kind 1890's A.W. Brown English Ginger Beer - Brampton. This was a first
for us, and even though a lip piece was gone on the
bottle we knew it was special.
That day I also took home, 4
(aqua) "Paterson's Ess camp & chicor coffee
Glasgow," (aqua) "Scott's Emulsion cod liver
oil," (Aqua) "Gordon's dry gin London,"
(green) "Pluto Water, Americas Physic," quart,
"Horlicks Malted Milk Montreal," two quart
size, "Vita Beverages," ACL quart, 2 green
embossed Mountain Dews, "Team,Toronto" soda
ACL, (clear) "R E Umberto brand pure olive
oil," (clear) "DDD," (clear) "Carter
drug co. Toronto," (clear) S.W. Wells & co.
Toronto," 2 (clear) "Norway pine syrup,"
(clear) "RD BB 1912," 3 (Clear) "Dr Bells
Medical wonder Kingston," 2 sizes of (clear)
"Dr Ellis wave set." Darren ended up with some
of my doubles and I received. a clear "O'cedar
polish," from him.
The next day I had a union
meeting, among other commitments, So Darren dug to the
east wall alone. When he reached the wall in the corner
there was a staircase with a nest of quarter pints. I
later received a HALL'S PURE MILK - Toronto quarter pint
and a Caufield's - Toronto quarter pint. Darren discovered a blue
lighting ball I had discarded out of ignorance. Darren found a total of
fifteen quarter-pints in the East staircase, these were; Silverwood's
Safe Milk, Caufield's, Ravenswood Dairy Phone Rand 4673, Pine Hill Dairy
E. Legg, Pine Hill Dairy Limited ( script variation ), Hall's Pure Milk,
Roberts & Sons Valley View Dairy and a Farmers Dairy.
In the middle of the week I
returned to finish off my corner of the east wall. It
was another good day for milk bottles. To my amazement I
unearthed ACL milks: Borden's - Toronto quart, Rosedale Dairy -
Highland Dairy - Toronto
pint and two different versions of the only known
Rice's Dairy Toronto pint bottles.
I also found an embossed
Brampton", (script style) pint , "Whitby
dairy Toronto," (script) pint, "Walnut Toronto," pint, "Acme dairy ltd
Toronto," pint, "Sutton dairy Sutton West," pint, a large (aqua)
"Daddies favourite sauce," and a blob top, (1878-89) aqua "Robert
Davies larger beer Dominion Breweries Toronto".
Another Saturday had arrived, and we now had 60%
complete, and the west side left to tackle. Darren's north west side
seemed choked with broken milk bottles and scurrying mice. Darren kept the
Dairy quart milk bottle we had seen ( top broken off ).
Darren also kept that day two different ACL Rosedale Dairy quarts in
various degrees of decay. Other finds were; Harris & Sons Lakeside 2392
half-pint, Acme Dairy Ltd. half-pint, City Dairy half-pint, Hamilton
Dairies Ltd. quart,
pint, Rosedale Dairy pints in script and block
Brampton Jerseys pint and a Caufields pint.
I was back into the 1920's
sodas, with "Verner's ginger ale Toronto,"
"Chas Wilson Toronto," and a "Thompson
& Wilson - Glen Williams," embossed bottle.
Embossed milks: "Hillside dairy JMC Kenzie &
sons Toronto," quarter pint, "Harris &
sons lakeside 2392, Toronto," quarter pint,
"Rosedale dairy Brampton." script quart,
"Donland dairy Toronto, half pint, "Elmhurst
dairy ltd Montreal," half pint, "Rosedale
Brampton," script half pint, "Brampton
Jerseys," half pint, "Brampton dairy
Brampton," bowling pin half pint. I still wonder why
there was so many different milk bottles. Was it someone's
old collection thrown out in the late 1940's?
The next day my south west corner was
nearly finished. I had found a perfect dark brown
pottery jug (no markings) and a Cobalt blue perfume
bottle with glass stopper. I slowly dug north along the
west wall until I reached another staircase. In that spot
I dug my first Hutchison. A common "Clark bros
Toronto," and a blank one with the letters GHS on
the bottom. Right beside it Darren dug a
"Silverwood's cream top Toronto," script quart
which he gave me because he had one already.
On the final successful hunt in
that foundation, I dug once again in the west staircase
and as luck would have it, behind two huge rocks was
another "Silverwood's cream Top" slug plate
quart (Darren had one of these as well). To top it off,
there was a "Jas Walsh Toronto," hutchison.
Darren would also have one last
successful dig and chance encounter with two rattle
snakes and a fire chief, but I will let him tell that
Darren: My dig ended as
it began with sodas replacing milks. Along the base of the North East
wall I found a Thompson & Wilson from Glen Williams, Ontario, Gold Seal
and a Pluto Water. The north wall had been leaning in with some loose
stones and acting on a hunch I pulled a few stones away finding
broken glass. My efforts paid off after removing what was loose by
discovering an Orange Real Co. and an aqua O'Keefe's OK Toronto bottle.
Now for a real rare find, a pair of Massassauga Rattlesnakes were
resting on the edge of the foundation. We had transformed the area around
the foundation into a mound of heated glass with leftover disturbed mice
nests. However I was oblivious to their presence until a fire chief
appeared out of nowhere and called down to me, "did you make this hole
son". "Are those your snakes because if they are they're an endangered
species". He may have ask me some other questions but I was still
squinting up at him thinking what the hell is he talking about and who is
he? My lack of verbal reply brought on his explanation that he was fire
chief and that he was scouting the abandoned house for a training
opportunity for his squad. I introduced myself and explained my hobby and
together we took a closer look at the snakes absorbing the days heat.
Outside of the Bruce Peninsula these snakes are a rare sighting indeed
because it is commonly believed to be extinct in Peel Region.
have had some good places to dig, but nothing beats a foundation full of