Blog Archive

What’s Under That Floor?


Our historic Tenement turns 150 years old this year, but it still hasn’t stopped surprising us. Last December, conservation work revealed a whole new cache of objects beneath the building’s floorboards. Some had probably been waiting to be discovered for a century.


Buttons, hairpins, photos and paper items are among our recent finds.

So what have we found? Well, no gold, jewels, dinosaurs or skeletons–but these treasures are valuable nonetheless. This is the detritus of everyday life: hairpins that held back a mother’s hair while she cooked a meal at a coal burning stove; buttons that popped off of well worn garments; fragments of photographs and children’s books and newspapers galore.

Paper Fragments

Assorted found paper fragments include soap wrappers, business cards, Yiddish newspapers and photographs.

These objects aren’t glamorous, but they’re evocative evidence of our building’s past. After all, about 7,000 people resided at 97 Orchard Street between 1863 and 1935. It’s no surprise that we’re still finding things they left behind!

— Posted by Kira Garcia 

Want to learn more about the history of 97 Orchard Street and the evidence left behind by past residents? Check out our “Exploring 97 Orchard Street” tour, every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets online here