British Columbia

Development in Chilliwack leads to discovery of decades-old artifacts

Old shop signs, vintage bottles, theatre handbills, parts from a Ford Model T have all been pulled out and are being viewed by many on Instagram. Some of the items are around 100 years old.

'They're not just relics but they actually have a human story behind them'

Jon Kinneman holds an empty liquor bottle and an empty bottle of Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, a tonic for women's health of dubious medicinal value. (CBC)

Developers have been dusting off unique and quirky vintage discoveries in downtown Chilliwack as construction workers of a new development gut decades-old buildings.

Workers with Algra Bros., who have been carefully dismantling the interiors of six buildings as part of a downtown redevelopment project, were recently surprised to find a trove of vintage items behind walls and under floorboards.

Included among the items are old shop signs, vintage bottles, theatre handbills, and parts from a Ford Model T. Some of the items are around 100 years old and the company has posted many on Instagram.

"We figured there would be something but we didn't know how much. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Jon Kinneman, the company's art and marketing director, told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

"They're not just relics but they actually have a human story behind them.

Other items include strange pieces of metal, an entertainment program, a watch, and even a 1924 letter from a young girl written on a piece of wood, providing information about her life.

"Her name was Phyllis Martin and she was a student at the time," Kinneman said, adding the company found her school records by searching her name.

"We found her grades and we have a story about how she won the Golden Pencil the next year for her improvement in mathematics."

Photos of many of the items are available on an Instagram account that also promotes the redevelopment.

Kinneman said many of the items will be donated to the Chilliwack archives.

Listen to the full story:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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