TCM Restoration & Cleaning Blog

Hidden Treasures found in an old Colony Home

 

Treasures found in an old Colony home in Palmer we recently dried out from a water damage.  Great story that was recently featured in The Frontiersman.

Ron Farnsworth doesn’t usually carry women’s lingerie in his coat pocket — especially not musty bras from the 1940s.

He was willing to make an exception this time after finding what looks like the upper portion of a woman’s slip from the World War II era stuffed into the floorboards of a Colony-era home with Newsweek, Life and PIC magazines dating between 1941 and 1943.

“I just want to be sure the . . . uh . . . item gets back to its rightful place,” the loss mitigation manager for TCM Restoration of Palmer chuckled Monday while on his way to deliver the bra to homeowner Betty Bohman. 

Trina Bohman sorts through vintage magazines that were found in the floors of her mother-in-law’s home. The discovery has presented a minor mystery for the family, wondering who might have stashed them in the house. ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman

Bohman, 87, had no idea whose bra it was or who put it there. She also didn’t know why there were piles of nearly 70-year-old publications stashed between the ceiling and floors of the 1936 home she’d occupied since 1995.

To make matters even more intriguing, many of the photos of women in the magazines had been cut out, as if someone had used them for a special project or purpose separate from the magazines.

“It’s a rather amusing mystery,” Bohman’s daughter-in-law, Trina Bohman, said Monday as she flipped through the pages of the magazines.

Farnsworth and his crew had been called to the home near Mile 5.8 of Palmer-Fishhook Road just before Thanksgiving after Bohman discovered her water pipes had burst the week before and all three floors of her home were damaged.

“We had seven people working in that house from 5 p.m. until midnight that first night,” Farnsworth recalled. “We knew the ceiling had to come down and when we started to remove it, there was a layer of sheetrock, then a layer of acoustic ceiling tiles, then a layer of plywood, then insulation. It was odd there were so many layers.”

As his crew worked its way through the layers from the floor in Betty Bohman’s room on the top floor, one of them found the old magazines and newspapers stuffed inside a small storage space behind her closet.

“Who knows why they were there?” Trina Bohman said. “They’re all in pretty good shape, though — except for the cutouts.”

Philip Morris ads praising America for smoking more of their cigarettes, illustrations showing Nazi swastikas carved into rock next to an American soldier, articles exposing as “traitors” famous authors such as Ezra Pound, and headlines declaring President Roosevelt wasn’t telling the American public the whole story can be found in the magazines.

Betty Bohman and her late husband, K.D. Bohman, had purchased the home in 1994 at its original location near the Tsunami Warning Center off the Palmer-Wasilla Highway and had it moved next to their son Brian’s home on Gold Bullion Street near Hatcher Pass.

“K.D. had built a basement next to our house and put the house on top of it,” Trina Bohman explained. “He was in the middle of remodeling it when he got sick all of a sudden and died of cancer six weeks later — just after his 73rd birthday.”

Bohman said that because her father-in-law was so well loved by Palmer residents because he’d helped farmers get loans as a home loan administrator and he also was a bishop in his church, the community came together to finish the project for Betty Bohman.

The Bohmans were told the home was first occupied during the Colony days by Don Irwin, manager of the Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corp., but they doubt the magazines belonged to him since others had purchased the home after him.

A few of the magazines offered a clue to their original owner through address labels naming Herbert C. Hanson.

A Google search of that name reveals there was an ecologist named Herbert C. Hanson who published articles on vegetation in Northwest Alaska in 1953 for the Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C. He also published a “Dictionary of Ecology” around the same time. However, it is unknown whether he’s the one who owned the magazines or if he ever even lived in the Palmer area.

Trina Bohman found it amusing that in Irwin’s 1968 book “The Colorful Matanuska Valley,” he urges builders to erect “large, substantial and impressive” structures with plenty of insulation when his own home was a mere “stick building.”

“We even found tinfoil used between the floors,” Brian Bohman said of his parents’ home.

His mother said she worked as a nurse at a veteran’s hospital at the end of World War II and that her husband had served with the Navy at Okinawa during the war in the Pacific. Looking through the magazines from that era now brings back memories she’d probably rather forget.

She stopped on a magazine page with a bold photo of an American flag waving from a ship’s mast and remembered walking by the old Palmer Post Office one day in the late 1960s or early 1970s and seeing some young men getting ready to hoist an American flag up the pole.

“The flag was piled on the ground,” she recalled, shaking her head in disgust. “So I walked over there and picked it up and held it until they were ready to put it up. Then I went inside and told their boss what they did. They just weren’t trained right.”

December 27, 2010 - Posted by | water damage | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be
    running off the screen in Safari. I’m not sure if this is a
    formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I
    figured I’d post to let you know. The layout look great though!
    Hope you get the problem solved soon. Kudos

    Comment by Marguerite | December 31, 2013 | Reply


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