Acquisition No.: 2013-70
Title: Artifact Collection; St. Joseph's Rectory, 2013
Item History:

The following items were collected from St. Joseph's Rectory in Bonneauville in the Fall of 2013. It was then that the building was being prepared for dismantling. The old brick structure was constructed in the last half of the 19th Century and had suffered many decades of neglect. The building was partially dismantled for recycling and environmental reasons. In the process, the walls and hollow spaces were carefully scrutinized. Behind stairwells, old chestnut trim, paneling and wainscoting lie bits of history that are here displayed.

Items that dated back at least as far as 1876 (Rev. McIlhenny's tenure) began to surface. Notable was that some early priests must have disliked house cats. Mice had dragged everything from the traps designed to catch them, to collection envelopes (empty) and correspondence, inside the walls and stairwells.

A small closet was constructed under the stairwell of the attic steps. The top shelf, which was difficult to see, did not have an adequate back board. Some items like a paperweight and metal hangers were apparently pushed to the back of the shelf where they fell into the interior of the stairwell and rolled down the underside of the steps, there to lie for a century or so.

A. Three wood scrolls or curtain rods.

B. Fly swatter.

C. "Sure Catch" Mouse Trap.

D. Tin Mouse Trap.

E. Electric Receptacle Cover.

F. Callanan's Magazine, 1912.

G. Metal Wall Lantern Bracket.

H. Three-in-One Oil Bottle.

I. Package: James Moroney, Philadelphia, to Rev. Wm. Mcillhenny [sic].

J. Children's Weekly Offering - 1934 (4 Envelopes)

K. Adult Collection Envelopes - 1934 (7 pieces.)

L. Paper Weight "Choir Boys."

M. Metal Receipt Holder.

N. "Reflex" Gas Mantle Container.

O. Menthol Cologne for Head Bottle. (George) Evans, Philadelphia.

P. Medicine Bottle from New Oxford.

Q. Five Cardboard Tokens.

R. Ribbon and Metal, Rev. J.M. Nichols, Bonneauville, PA

S. Package from Rev. J. W. Shanahan, Harrisburg, to Father McElhenny [sic].

T. Palm Frond Crucifix.

U. "Reflex" Gas Light Box Cover.

V. Douglas Meckley Refrigerator Magnet.

W. Kevin R. Koons, Parole Officer, Business Card.

X. Jane Peacock Address Label.

Y. The Mysterious XIII Board.

Before St. Joseph's Rectory could be torn down in November of 2013, much preparation was required. Iron and copper pipes and radiators were removed from the building for recycling. Copper wiring and aluminum siding were stripped from the structure. All windows were removed and disposed of. The roofing materials that would have polluted the environment had they been burned, were laborously removed by hand. Appliances and furniture were taken out and donated to the needy. The attic floor boards were removed for repurposing.

On the far northwest corner of the attic, way back where the roof rafters meet the floor, was a board with "XIII" carved into it. What the code stood for is a matter of guesswork. Beneath the coded board and above the plaster lath of the ceiling below, was a ten-inch space. Just below the coded letters was found a stash of empty wine bottles - all of them broken. They all appeared to be at least 100 years old. Someone had to work hard to crawl back to their secret storage spot. Did XIII coincidentally or purposely mark the spot?

Primary labor volunteers for the project were Robert Clabaugh, Mike Clabaugh, Bill Orndorff and Karl Orndorff. A few others assisted from time to time. Most of the deconstruction took place during the hours when most parishioners worked at their jobs.

Image  Image  Image  Image  Image  Image  Image  Image
Location: Case XIII
Acq. Date: 2013
Acquired from: Rev. Peter DiTomasso
Price ($): gifted
Type: collection
Curator: ckrc