Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Munster House Dig

It was a Superbowl Sunday....a time most Americans reserve for kicking back on the sofa while enjoying an ice cold soda or beer, the newest witty commercials, and taking-in the game. And I figured that's what I'd resort to doing, as I normally have in the past. After all I didn't want to miss two good quarterbacks go head-to-head, see good food go uneaten, and bail out on "The Who's" half-time rock & roll set!

But the haunted Munster House was whispering to us. My digging partner Dave G. and I had wanted to dig this freakish-looking Southern California dwelling for years, and we knew the perfect opportunity to dig it had arrived!

Check out the unique Mansard-style roof. I would guess this house to date early 1880's. The architecture seems to have an oriental influence:
As seen on our 1891 insurance maps, there was also a small pioneer-style or small carriage house located at the rear property-line (facing from the other street at a 90% angle).

The maps showed a total of 3 shared-hole locations for the Munster House, the blue pioneer dwelling, and a later house that moved-in a few years later. After making some drill holes (about the size of a quarter) where the outhouse map-box was, we probed and crunched on glass with the 4-footer. Then the hole decided to swallow the 6 foot probe too. So we brought in the 8 foot probe and POW, another layer of glass all the way to the handle....We knew we were in for a bomber pit. So Dave quickly fired up his new concrete slicing Skill-saw and cut out the slab of concrete which covered the old privy pit.

About 3 feet into the hole, a few late bottles and shards of glass so far. I was able to locate each wall of the outhouse with some help from the old redwood lined walls.

We pried loose this sunken panel, square-design pint sized bitters container around the 8 foot level. It reads: LASHS'S KIDNEY AND LIVER BITTERS reverse THE BEST CATHARTIC AND BLOOD PURIFIER. The bottle is fashioned with a tooled-finish top and records tell us it was manufactured from, 1884-1893. It is pictured in Jeff Wichmann's Western Bitters book (pg. 76)

After unearthing the Lash's Bitters we knew the hole was turning back a page with its age. We also knew the potential for more bitters was quite possible too. I thought I might have been working on digging out a green Henley's IXL Bitters for a minute, but it turned out to be a large wine. Oh well, digging an embossed bitters bottle is really tough, tougher than finding an old embossed whiskey container, and those are challenging enough! At the end of the day we were a bit disappointed that the Lash's was the only "decent" bottle to come out. The rest of the stuff was mostly unembossed, national brands, or broken. But any dig that produces a decent + bitters bottle is a great day to be a digger, even on a Superbowl Sunday!

The concrete repair job that we promised the very cool home-owners we would do:

In need of a washing:

After a soap-sud and luke-warm H2O bath:

We were also able to dig the M.E. Church hole across the alley this past weekend. A pretty decent hole overall. More digs to follow....

All for now,

~J.F. Cutter


  1. Great story J.F. !

    Lots of work for that bitters, but it's a nice one. Your patch job looks very nice, and most likely the property owners would be a great reference for future digs. Well done!

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