Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been watching the condominium conversion of the old Italian Embassy at 16th and Fuller in my neighborhood and an interesting detail appeared a couple months ago. On the side of the building facing Fuller there’s a window frame detail that wasn’t actually a window, and at the top there has always been a plastered over rectangle that looked like a hole that had been cut for an air conditioning unit. That rectangle had always been messily plastered over. A couple of months ago they cleaned up that little rectangle and it appeared to have writing in it so I took a couple photos (attached). It appears to be a dedication plaque in Latin, with the year 1925 written as MCMXXV.

Each side of the plaque is decorated with an object that looks like it was damaged, but it is pretty clearly the pre-WWII symbol of the Italian Fascist Party, the Fasces (bundle of rods) with an axhead attached. I’ve copied an image of the symbol from Wikipedia below.

Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922 so this appears to be a symbolic detail to represent Mussolini’s fascist government.

I’m curious what the builder of this high-end condo is going to do with this plaque. It’s not as obviously offensive as a swastika, so I think they might consider an interpretive sign or plaque that explains it. It’s historically significant, and I think this building is in a historic district. I’m also curious what the translation of the Latin wording is.”

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If you ever spot a cool Archaeologica Find in your house, apartment or office – please send an email to [email protected] thanks!

Thanks to John for sending from his 1889 Townhouse in Eastern Market:

“Found some interesting stuff behind the walls as we are adding some insulation. Apparently Garfinckel’s was the Nordstrom’s of the day at 1401 F Street NW. little 1982 fashion time capsule right there. And one whole page for men! Well, for some robes.

Also found what appears to be a porcelain painted plate for a dollhouse or something like that. Very intricate design!

Maybe some readers know some more Garfinckel’s history? The catalogue is dated Winter 1982.”

Closeups and a look inside the catalogue after the jump. Read More

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“Dear PoPville,

A friend found this in an antiques mall and gave it to me because it looks like a kettlebell (I’m a trainer). I’m so curious about what it actually is, and thought the wise PoPulace might know.

It’s metal, but pretty lightweight, and has a hinge and a lock (key is missing). It opens to reveal a plate with a center hole, surrounded by six smaller holes. It has “100lb.Strong” etched on the side in a nice ’70s font, and “Germany” is stamped on the bottom.

My first thought was some kind of bar accessory, but an initial googling has turned up nothing. Any readers have any clues?”

If you spot an Archeological Find in your house, apartment or office – please send an email to [email protected] thanks!

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To be honest not many people read this column but I freaking love it. I’m surprised these papers are in relatively such good shape. Thanks to a reader for sending:

“We’re having our porch redone in Park View and check out what was used as insulation at some point: Washington Posts from 1932. Apparently you could get a sweet corset for $5.”

If you spot an Archeological Find in your house, apartment or office – please send an email to [email protected] thanks!

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If you have a photo of a neat find from your house or place of work please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail.com thanks. To those who have sent – I promise I’m working through the queue!

From Logan Circle:

“We inherited this barrel when we bought our house and never paid any attention to it. There was a running joke about what could be in it. Well I moved it for the first time and actually looked at the label. Its from 1963. And its empty. If anybody is interested in it before I throw it away…..”

Ed. Note: Note the Sanitary Fill line.

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If you have a photo of a neat find from your house or place of work please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail.com thanks. To those who have I sent – I promise I’m working through the queue!

A reader sends in from Chateau Du Sherm:

“While doing some work in the crawlspace of my 1911 rowhouse on Sherman Ave, I found a couple of interesting items (among many uninteresting ones) that I thought I’d share.

The first is a “Try-Me” soda bottle. The side of the bottle says “Drink Try-Me Beverages,” and the bottom says “Washington, DC Patented April 24, 1924.”

This website had some interesting history on the company. In particular, it notes the following about Try-Me: “A flavored beverage manufacturer, the company flourished from around 1924 to 1956, primarily in the southeast but also as far west as Oklahoma and as far north as New York State. Its headquarters ultimately were located at 1345 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC.”

I also found an old horseshoe, and not the kind used in the game. This one is quite small compared to the ones you throw, still has nails protruding from it, and is extremely worn on one side.”

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arch finds

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If you have a photo of a neat find from your house or place of work please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail.com thanks. To those who have I sent – I promise I’m working through the queue!

“Here are the cool things we have found in our place in Mt Pleasant. Clearly kids have lived here.

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The soldier was buried and partially stuck to a concrete deck post footing. We think he is early WW2, or maybe between the wars.

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The aircraft flash cards were behind baseboards. WW2. They are each about 2 inches across.

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The marbles just keep showing up inside and in the yard.

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The tasting cups were in the attic. One is inscribed twice, the other just once.”

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