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The Urban Archeologist: Found Photo Mystery!

What are these men doing?
What are these men doing?

Other than “gold” my favorite category items to find are old photographs. Visual records of the past can be worth a thousand words, or more. This isn't the first time I've shared a photo mystery.


I have have seen enough old photographs to be an expert in detecting their origin and purpose - I like to call it photo-forensics. However, I still have a lot to learn about the taking and processing of my own photographs, not to mention the photography skills of others.


last week I found some great old photos and old paper in the basement of a my latest favorite “dig” location. You might want to copy this down because I am about to give away a treasure trove in Connecticut. Main Street Pickers, at 141 Main Street, Oakville, CT. Don the owner, tells me he is closing the store and moving to Florida. Each week he is pulling items from the warehouse and stocking his shelves.


The image above was in a box under a desk in the basement. I picked it up and brought it home despite the condition it looks to be in. A group of well dressed men in the middle of the woods? What year? What are they doing? I know there has to be more to the story.


Take a look at more of the images here and see if you can find out where they hid the gold!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scott Jameson March 25, 2014 at 01:28 PM
My grandmother died in 1973. In 1974, I started researching my dad's family. In early summer I happened to stop by my cousin's house nearby and as we sat and talked I asked her about the box sitting on the table beside us its dimensions about 2ft wide, 1.5ft deep and 18" tall. She told me that she had asked our aunt if she could bring home the box with the photos in them. At that point I stood up to peer into the container and to my wondering eyes it was halfway filled with very old photos, some tin, others glass and still others of professional portraits and regular prints from the '40s back to the late 1800s. It became my first peek into what my ancestor's lives were like. With her permission I took some one hundred of the old pictures home with me to see if I could identify who these people were. That they were family, there was no doubt in my mind. That summer another cousin and I decided to take a weekend trip up to Manchester, VT in order to check out the old town records. We didn't have the Internet like today to browse the billions of recorded images that are available to us. In any event we decided to stop at an old Odd Fellows Post in the area. As we combed through the files in trooped three women apparently on a mission to discover some of their lost ancestors. When they mentioned our surname, however, we both turned around and looked at these ladies and Ellen said to them, "We are the Jamesons! Well, you can only imagine how excited we all were in that discovery and through them they were able to identify a number of our folks with theirs in a 1901 50th Anniversary photo of my great great grandparents decked out and surrounded by their child and families in front of the old homestead which still survives in great shape to this day! When, several years had passed, I went back to my other cousin to see if I could check out some additional photos. The photos had been returned she said and our aunt has them. I checked with my aunt and she said that her niece did not return the box. One thing led to another and unfortunately my aunt's house burned down, grandmother's Hope chest which contained her wedding gown, an old 1800s Bible with family info written inside and many other relics of the distant past and supposedly all the old prints. I was left with a mystery about the pictures having talked to my cousin on several occasions and she insisted she had returned the photos. But I had my doubts because she never asked me once about the photos I took. She has since died and I have talked to both of her children about this, but to this day they claim they don't have them. My aunt who outlived my cousin insisted that she never returned them to her. Over the years I have discovered family treasures in lots of places and have some decent items of long ago including an old mirror my grandmother purchased and then gave to one of her children and later passed on to me. My main point here is don't hoard those old treasures, bring them out into the open, publicly let your family know and let us all glimpse what life was like hundreds of years ago. Today, I use a software I purchased from E-Books a year ago. This nifty piece makes an album of photos electronically just like an actual photo book that you can manipulate everything from actually turning pages, placing photos in any manner, pagination, index, table of contents with the ability to reduce the resolution of the photo without losing the quality of the image.
Greg Van Antwerp March 25, 2014 at 08:40 PM
Thanks for the comment Scott, wow! You could start your own blog with that post, and I'd follow it.
Scott Jameson March 26, 2014 at 11:16 AM
I appreciate the comments. I enjoyed the opportunity to write about my earlier experiences.

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