ANOTHER "GREAT FEATURE ARTICLE" FROM THE PAGES OF
ANTIQUE BOTTLE AND GLASS COLLECTOR MAGAZINE
THE MAGAZINE OF THE ANTIQUE BOTTLE COLLECTING HOBBY
Bet You Dont Have One of These!
Text and Photos by: Peter B. Samuelson
travels in the woods and mountains of New Hampshire have been a
bit lonely for the past year and a half.
Sadie the dog was my friend and constant companion for 17 years. She was part of each day I spent searching for hidden treasure. We traveled many miles together in all types of weather enjoying what we liked most the outdoors. Sadie was the best woods dog I ever had.
workers at Bretton Woods - Fabyans train station, circa
Bretton Woods - Fabyans train station, circa 1950 (right)
One of her favorite places was the old railroad dump in the history-rich area of Fabyans-Bretton Woods, N.H. During her last years of life this was a hike she could take without having her hind legs collapse. Once we arrived at the digging site, she would always choose the same place to lie down. This was close to a large fir balsam tree, where other smaller balsams had branches close to the ground. This canopy of branches would be her little house for the day.
|Fabyan House about 1900.||1935 dog tag.|
With Sadies memory in mind, I made several trips to this exact spot last year. Traces of her yellow hair still cling to the branches of the fir trees.
Looking north from Mt. Pleasant Hotel. Mt. Washington Hotel and 6,288-foot high Mt. Washington in background, photo circa 1906.
The trash dumps at Fabyans-Bretton Woods have been good to me. It is here that I dug a near mint DP coffin-shaped poison, many scarce and unusual pharmacy bottles and hundreds of assorted artifacts from the grand hotels in the area. These hotels flourished from the mid 1800s until about 1938. The Mt. Washington Hotel, built in 1902 still stands today. To recover anything from this location involves a great deal of patience and a lot of probe work. There is no main dump, just scatterings and small hand dug pits.
Sadie the dog. Sadies last trip to Bretton Woods - Fabyans. Dumps are in the woods on both sides of tracks.
Early last year, I worked this area with little result. I located several holes full of broken 1880s and 1890s bottles and a substantial amount of metal. This included old railroad padlocks, large steam locomotive wrenches and many railroad wheels and brake parts. Its no wonder so many bottles were smashed to bits. Two of the more interesting metal artifacts remain in my collection. They are a liquid pistol and a dog tag from nearby Harts Location, N.H.
On May 5, 2003, with the black flies in full force, I decided to concentrate my collecting efforts on a flat area near a small cellar hole. This cellar hole was the site of a railroad workers house, which stood from the late 1800s until about 1940.
Scattered throughout the woods were bits and pieces of bottles, dishes and stoneware. Also, there was an occasional doll head and broken parts of a childs tea set. All of this was interesting but I was hoping for something in one piece.
The bugs were starting to drive me nuts. The 100% Deet was of little effect and my usual patience was starting to fade. It was getting to be late afternoon and I had yet to find anything to take home. Just as I was about to call it quits for the day; something near a large fir balsam tree sparked my interest.
Sticking out of the ground near the tree was the base of a small bottle. When I reached down to pick it up, I had quite a surprise. The bottle wouldnt come out of the ground.
After the second try with no result, I got on my hands and knees to more fully investigate this odd occurrence.
|The root and bottle.|
After scraping away moss and soil, I discovered why the little
bottle wouldnt move. It was embedded in one of the main
roots of the tree. Considering the poor luck Id had earlier
in the day, this discovery was a major event. After pondering the
situation for a few minutes, I decided to head for home. I needed
a shovel, a saw and an axe.
The next day I returned with my tools and a bottle of old-fashioned Woodsman fly dope. This stuff was put up years ago by local druggists to repel the hoards of bugs in the spring of the year. This dark liquid goop will repel most insects and also people with a weakness for strong odors. Originally it was comprised of Pine Tar, citronella, olive oil, oil of Pennyroyal, creosote, powdered camphor and carbolated Vaseline. From time to time, I have a druggist brew up a batch for me. I dont include the creosote; its not available anymore. Besides that it is very harsh on the skin.
After plastering myself with the fly dope, I went about the task of removing a section of the root with bottle intact. After a short time of chopping and sawing, I had my prize in hand.
An inch of the base of the bottle was protruding from the root. It appeared to be machine made and had some readable embossing. It read: Doll Milk, made in U.S.A. on the backside of the bottle was embossed: V.G. Co. Jenet or Senet, Pa. The rest of the bottle was solidly embedded in the root.
|Liquid Pistol and old ad for same.|
Ive always liked unusual things. On this day, Mother
Nature certainly went out of her way to provide me with a most
unusual treasure for my collection.
Just before leaving, I reached out to touch the fir balsam tree as if to say,
"Thanks for the gift." When I did, my fingernail apparently punctured a large blister on the side of the tree. The blister contained an overload of sticky pitch, which after being broken open sprayed me directly in the face. I guess that was the trees way of getting back at me for cutting off one of its roots.
This certainly was a unique day of Fabyans-Bretton Woods and I can boast that, "Ill bet you dont have one of these."
I wonder if Sadie knew the little bottle was there?
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