Hidden Treasure

I picked up this c1865 trunk from a sweet couple who were downsizing recently.I was automatically attracted to its wonderful details, including two tiers of customized trays with the lining linen still in evidence. She’s in almost perfect shape, inside and out, for her age!

Additionally, its age appeals to my love of Civil War-era history, and its provenance from a noted maker right here in Washington, DC further made it a must-have.

Given the customization and likely cost of a trunk such as this back in the day, I can just imagine a wealthy young swell thinking he would take this stylish beauty romantically off to war. I’m sure he quickly had second thoughts on that, given her heft……So perhaps this was used to pack his lady love’s items to decamp from the Washington area to someplace safer up North….these are the things my brain loves to turn over when I consider an intriguing antique item.

Upon cleaning her up, perhaps an even more fun contemporary discovery was a layer of newspapers on the floor of the trunk (underneath that second level of custom trays!) which were laid over a thick layer of baking soda.

The Washington Post pages from April 24, 1982 seemed a true blast from the past with pages detailing the impending Nuclear War, early 80’s fashion, quaint ads for brand-new Crystal City condos that “start at” $337,000– they now go for millions–and for TV’s encased in consoles, & microwaves almost as large! Remember your first microwave?

One article details the opening of a section of Route 66 here in Northern Virginia. Contracted in 1977, the article stated it will open in Dec 1982, at a cost of $285 million ($115 millon over budget, naturally).

It’s interesting to contrast that with the current state of affairs in 2021, with the same Route 66 being renovated and expanded at a projected cost of $2-3 BILLION. Oh, how times have changed!

I guess it’s comforting, then, that there are some historical items that are tangible, that tell a timeless story (even if embellished in my mind) and that stand the test of time– even if TV furniture, 80’s styles, and highways don’t!