What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas

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07-13-2014, 07:34 PM
Post: #1
What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Wednesday if it doesn't rain I'm hitting my friends grandpas house that was built in 1890. After that I guess there's some land right down the road that we will be able to hit as well but its the woods. A road used to go through this area from a map I looked at from 1908. There should be at least two foundations in the area, but my friend said they were bulldozed in the past which means there wont be cellar holes..hes not sure what year they did it. When looking for these areas what should I try to spot? The obvious thing is looking for open areas where there aren't any trees or ones that are a lot smaller compared to the rest. I'm hoping there's still some sort of path where the road used to be and maybe the driveways. Just wondering if there's anything else

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07-13-2014, 08:00 PM
Post: #2
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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That's a tough one Dang It. Mostly you gotta go by sight. The tree thing is a good clue but when were they bulldozed? I always look for the oldest trees I can find and relate them to any kind of path that may lead to a road. When I see a 5 foot diameter oak in the woods I start searching. And a lot of the time those houses didn't have basements like we do today. They may have had a coal cellar for the furnace or a root cellar for jarred and fresh vegetables though. Most of them were elevated above the ground so the casement walls were just set 2 feet down into the ground and that was that. No such thing as BOCA Codes back then. I've been looking at old maps now so long my eyes hurt. Especially the city maps. I am simply FLABBERGASTED that so many streets didn't even exist in the early 20th century. Then trying to sort out what new streets went where and what old ones were replaced is a real challenge. Sometimes you just get lucky. But I will tell you this, when your iron signals start hitting hard and more often, you're on or near the spot. Dig them. If you start coming up with cut nails and roofing flashing, bingo bro, you're on the target.

Ed

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07-13-2014, 08:30 PM
Post: #3
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
(This post was last modified: 11-18-2014 03:04 AM by IndianaBones.)
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exactly what i look for, i look for areas in the woods that have a clearing of smaller trees. or not as dense as the surrounding areas. i will often poke the ground with a rod looking for bricks or some kind of structure below the surface. often just doing a real good search of such areas, i will find pieces of brick or other signs ..  i will usually start to hit on a ton of iron if there was a structure.
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07-13-2014, 08:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Thanks guys. I'm really hoping I can find at least one of the spots. Ed, I don't know when they were bulldozed. Had to have been quite some time ago because recent google earth images I look at dont even show any paths a bulldozer could of taken to get in there. It's at least worth it to take a shot. Story has it that one of the guys living in one of those houses used to bury his money. Not sure if they found any of it while bulldozing, but maybe one of the jars broke and/or is just sitting there just waiting to be found (a guy can dream right?). I'm willing to take the effort to go look

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07-13-2014, 08:57 PM
Post: #5
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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(07-13-2014 08:41 PM)DangItBobby Wrote:  Thanks guys. I'm really hoping I can find at least one of the spots. Ed, I don't know when they were bulldozed. Had to have been quite some time ago because recent google earth images I look at dont even show any paths a bulldozer could of taken to get in there. It's at least worth it to take a shot. Story has it that one of the guys living in one of those houses used to bury his money. Not sure if they found any of it while bulldozing, but maybe one of the jars broke and/or is just sitting there just waiting to be found (a guy can dream right?). I'm willing to take the effort to go look

Oh for sure Bobby, the experience alone is worth the time even if you find only one or two silvers, a few wheats or even some relics. That jars of money stuff could be true and one never does really know but you know about overloads! Dig em! Before you start your trek into the woods, do yourself a favor and pace the path off that you'll take, if it's not terribly overgrown. Take a can of yellow or white spray paint with you and mark off five or ten paces on small trees. That way you'll have a reference and when you start hitting stuff you can relate the marks to the distance and take a better look at the maps. I've been looking for this old schoolhouse now for the last month. I took a can of white spray paint and marked the trees every 4 paces in dense brush, so everytime I go back there I know where I've been. It doesn't work all the time cause you gotta really look for the marks, but when you find them, the brain clicks in and you remember. GL on Wednesday!

Ed

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07-13-2014, 09:22 PM
Post: #6
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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(07-13-2014 08:57 PM)Ohio Dirt Fisher Wrote:  
(07-13-2014 08:41 PM)DangItBobby Wrote:  Thanks guys. I'm really hoping I can find at least one of the spots. Ed, I don't know when they were bulldozed. Had to have been quite some time ago because recent google earth images I look at dont even show any paths a bulldozer could of taken to get in there. It's at least worth it to take a shot. Story has it that one of the guys living in one of those houses used to bury his money. Not sure if they found any of it while bulldozing, but maybe one of the jars broke and/or is just sitting there just waiting to be found (a guy can dream right?). I'm willing to take the effort to go look

Oh for sure Bobby, the experience alone is worth the time even if you find only one or two silvers, a few wheats or even some relics. That jars of money stuff could be true and one never does really know but you know about overloads! Dig em!  Before you start your trek into the woods, do yourself a favor and pace the path off that you'll take, if it's not terribly overgrown. Take a can of yellow or white spray paint with you and mark off five or ten paces on small trees. That way you'll have a reference and when you start hitting stuff you can relate the marks to the distance and take a better look at the maps. I've been looking for this old schoolhouse now for the last month. I took a can of white spray paint and marked the trees every 4 paces in dense brush, so everytime I go back there I know where I've been. It doesn't work all the time cause you gotta really look for the marks, but when you find them, the brain clicks in and you remember. GL on Wednesday!

Ed
Thanks for the info! I'm going to do whatever I can to feel the place out. Now I just have to hope it doesn't rain

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07-13-2014, 09:34 PM
Post: #7
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Ed gave you some excellent info! Can't really add too much to it, but...

If you start finding old shards of pottery, square nails (as Ed mentioned), pieces of iron, broken chunks of old bottles, etc., you know you're in the right place Wink They're all indicators. I'd search in all metal if it isn't super trashy. That way you can hear everything in the ground, and you won't miss anything that's close to iron/junk. Just slow down when you swing. At an old spot like that, dig pretty much anything that beeps. There's tremendous historical value in old iron!!!

Joe

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07-13-2014, 10:41 PM
Post: #8
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Couldn't agree more with dig it all Joe, there are some bad ass iron relics that you don`t want to miss, buttons, buckles, and all that are great finds. but a sweet pair or shackles ax head or bayonet, those are the great finds the iron jumpers miss.
they are also the key items that help to tell the story of the history of your site.
can`t be afraid of a little trash ... 


happy Hunting and dig it all ...
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07-13-2014, 10:49 PM
Post: #9
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Honestly, this thread is EXACTLY up your alley, Bones...more so than most of us. Sheet, you hunt foundations everyday!!! If you want to find good $hit, just do whatever Bones is doing, he's KILLING down there in the humidity chamber!!!!!

Joe

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07-13-2014, 11:12 PM
Post: #10
RE: What to look for when trying to find old foundation areas
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Haha yea, this is definitely not my area of expertise, but figured it would be a nice chance to give it a try. Just hope I can find them

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