What’s the oldest property you’ve owned? What was it like?

I once owned a house built in the 1860’s. Not the oldest thing in my town by a long shot, but it still had lots of stories to tell.

I can’t say I loved how it looked. There was nothing iconic about it, pretty non-descript. I almost felt like I should’ve discovered something more interesting about it, but it was a very boring house.

Surely there must be others out there who have owned century-old homes that had unique characteristics or things they’ve discovered within. Let’s hear some stories!

Not a house, but we have family farmland in IL that was bought in 20 acre sections in the 1850s-60s and has Abraham Lincoln's stamp on the deed. He was IL governor at the time before becoming president.

I also found an old baseball and kids writing homework dated 1858 in the wall of a house that I remodeled.... The house was in the historic district and had beautiful lines and woodwork, but had been converted into a multi family with apartments. We were converting the attic into a loft apartment. The rafters were hand hewn with an adz, which I thought was pretty neat. I was tearing out the old wooden window sill when i found the baseball and paper. It was in essence a writing assignment, where the boy (signed William) had written something like "I walk my dog." But multiple times. We thought it was pretty neat and set it off to the side with plans to donate it to the local museum. However, our helper that was carrying out all the debris from the demolition accidentally threw it in the trash!

I have lived in a few other historic home and the only other notable thing is that they are very drafty and expensive to heat and cool.


I can't beat the Abraham Lincoln deed....I doubt any of us can, but I have a 2 family from 1903 here in NY that I did a gut renovation, got rid of the gas lines for the original interior lighting and updated all of the plumbing, heating and electric. I bought it for about $40k and put $70 into it (I underestimated at 55k). Found lots of interesting things during the renovation. :)

It's been rented since (2010) with Section-8 tenants. They don't care about the upkeep and maintenance as much as cash customers, but the rent is always paid. It really hasn't required much maintenance since the renovation, but it's "like new" so not much to tell. :)

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@jawollbrink wow! Both of those finds sound fascinating!

I also owned a property from the late 1800's, but I never discovered anything exciting in it. It was just an old, unremarkable duplex. If there ever was anything interesting about it, chances are the previous owners (of which there were many) already found it before I owned it. :)

If you've ever been to Europe, you'll see A LOT of properties that are much, much older... centuries older than what we see in the U.S. Sometimes I wonder what discoveries are waiting to be found in those houses.