Western Iowa dump digger/new member

Welcome to our Antique Bottle community

Be a part of something great, join today!

digginidiot

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Points
3
8 years ago we bought the ground next to us and soon found out underneath it is the old city dump. We have been digging it ever since. Our research shows the dump started previous to 1890 and closed before July of 1940. There are no indications it has ever been dug, except the previous owner stated he found bottles when a storm cellar and crawlspace was dug. This is more of a historical project for us than a bottle collecting endeavor, therefore we keep every reasonably complete bottle and we do not sell anything we dig with the exception of scrap iron. To date we have dug and retained IMG_0225resized.JPG20220212_172658-COLLAGE.jpgIMG_1272resized.JPGIMG_1042resized.JPGnearly 36,000 bottles, and a total of over 104,000 items.
We would like to discuss this project with anyone interested. Our main question to you folks is how rare is it to have a small town dump excavated by just one entity with all the finds held together as a single collection? Oh yeah, we have no experience with posting on a forum of any kind....
 

UnderMiner

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
636
Reaction score
1,479
Points
93
Hahaha, that's awesome! Some people on here do similar things but I doubt it is to this extent, this is definitely next level in comparison. Most people do not keep all the bottles they dig, and certainly not all the broken bits. But to be honest if I had the space I would likely keep everything too, and I'm sure many people here would. But space is the limiting factor for this hobby/archeological crusade we partake in. One day I will get a building out back and pull this sort of thing, but for now I have but one room... and a garage... and some boxes in the yard, and that's all, I swear! :D also P.S. I have exclusive access to two untapped landfills one capped in 1924, and another from 1910, oh the rooms I could fill.
 

hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2006
Messages
9,226
Reaction score
6,283
Points
113
I know of other people who have dug town dumps or large dumps on there property but none with all the finds held together as a single collection. if so probably not with that many items. SO, To answer your Question, it's very rare, since most people will sell duplicates of finds. Most people don't want 20 or 30 of the same bottles, or 100 of the same 1950's Ketchup Bottles with screw tops. Have you found any Hutchinson or Hutch Bottles in this Dump? Curious? LEON.
 

digginidiot

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Points
3
Thanks for reply. We have only dug about 40 Hutchs, many of them have peck marks where some of the local kids of yesteryear threw rocks at them. On the other hand, we have found a few that were classified as "unknowns" and we also dug a couple unknown variants of arguably the rarest Hutch in Iowa, Ida Grove Bottling Works. I absolutely understand that most privy diggers would have tossed 95% of the bottles we dig back in the hole, and I don't have a problem with that at all, our goals may not be entirely the same. And, so far, we have room for them all but it is getting tighter haha.
 

digginidiot

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Points
3
Hahaha, that's awesome! Some people on here do similar things but I doubt it is to this extent, this is definitely next level in comparison. Most people do not keep all the bottles they dig, and certainly not all the broken bits. But to be honest if I had the space I would likely keep everything too, and I'm sure many people here would. But space is the limiting factor for this hobby/archeological crusade we partake in. One day I will get a building out back and pull this sort of thing, but for now I have but one room... and a garage... and some boxes in the yard, and that's all, I swear! :D also P.S. I have exclusive access to two untapped landfills one capped in 1924, and another from 1910, oh the rooms I could fill.
We don't usually keep many bottle fragments, but a couple years back we found a thick seam of very broken bottles, all amber. As it turns out, by counting the intact tops and by trying to read various fragments of very hard-to-read APL's, we determined there were about 350 broken bottles involved, all hog cholera serum bottles from Fort Dodge (IA) Serum Co. And, yeah we kept those, but those pieces are not included in the 100,000 + items we inventory. We do keep all of the crock/jugs shards, blanks included and we have maybe 14,000 decorative plate pieces. When we started this project we thought maybe a 10'X20' building would hold it all. Dumb,dumb,dumb.
 

DavidW

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
306
Reaction score
253
Points
63
Location
Southern Indiana
This is all very interesting!!
One idea would be to turn the collection into a small private museum, available for archeologists, bottle collectors, researchers, and just any interested members of the public to browse and study!

I am sure there are many obscure bottles that are not known to the average collector that are there, mixed in with the more common items. Of course many would be considered of low interest to the "hardcore bottle collector interested mostly in rarities and rare color variants" but it would still be of great interest to anyone who wants to get an a good, insightful, comprehensive idea of the wide range of glass, pottery and other items used by average Americans in the Midwest throughout the time frame they were discarded.
I think the whole idea is fascinating. Would love to come visit and look, but too far away for me!
 

hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2006
Messages
9,226
Reaction score
6,283
Points
113
Have you looked the Iowa Hutches listed/pictured on Hutchbook.com Just curious if your familiar with this website. Do you know if you have any Michigan Bottles in your Collection? Curious as I collect Michigan bottles. LEON.

P.S. What is your goal?
 

digginidiot

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Points
3
This is all very interesting!!
One idea would be to turn the collection into a small private museum, available for archeologists, bottle collectors, researchers, and just any interested members of the public to browse and study!

I am sure there are many obscure bottles that are not known to the average collector that are there, mixed in with the more common items. Of course many would be considered of low interest to the "hardcore bottle collector interested mostly in rarities and rare color variants" but it would still be of great interest to anyone who wants to get an a good, insightful, comprehensive idea of the wide range of glass, pottery and other items used by average Americans in the Midwest throughout the time frame they were discarded.
I think the whole idea is fascinating. Would love to come visit and look, but too far away for me!
We find ourselves in complete agreement, thank you for the comment. To date, we have not gone totally public with this project but we intend to. We have cleaned up and displayed roughly 6,000 bottles and another 6,000 misc finds ie: jugs, crocks, metal signs, marbles, buttons and the list goes on and on. The crock shards are displayed outside, close to the street for anyone who cares to look.
 

digginidiot

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2016
Messages
10
Reaction score
21
Points
3
Have not seen the Hutch book, there is a large Iowa bottle book which includes the Ida Grove specimen. The only Michigan bottle that comes to mind immediately is a Battle Creek MI Sanitarium bottle. I am sure we may have dug others. We catalogue our embossed bottles by company or product name rather than by city/state otherwise I would have a better answer. Thanks
 

Members online

No members online now.

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
83,652
Messages
745,434
Members
24,744
Latest member
Hop
Top