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Last updated: Mon. Feb. 24, 2014 - 06:15 am EDT

Roanoke renovation project discovers long-ago child's 'treasures' hidden in historic building wall

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For more on The North End store and boutique hotel, go to www.thenorthendboutique.com.

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Four baseballs, the face of a small wooden horse's head, a commemorative coin from the 1914 Bluffton Street Fair, marbles and a few other items: All once presumably treasures in a child's eyes.

Hidden possibly nearly a century ago, the items were discovered Wednesday by workers installing windows in a wall of a historic brick building at Main and Second streets in Roanoke, about 8 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.

“It's not jewelry. It's just history,” said Karima Davis of Fort Wayne, the building's owner, who hopes to learn more about the cache.

Davis is having the building renovated for use as The North End, a women's clothing boutique she hopes to open there by August. She already operates individual suites on the building's second floor as boutique hotel accommodations.

Describing the found items as “boy stuff,” Davis believes a boy must have worked bricks loose in the wall and removed about four of them to create a hiding space for his treasures.

Along with the other items mentioned previously, workers also found items such as a ball of string, a can and three deteriorating tobacco tins. The commemorative coin promoted "The Wells County Bank" on one side and, on the other side, has an image of the first Wells County Courthouse, words identifying that image and the notation "1914 Bluffton Street Fair."

Davis has learned the building once housed The Old Reliable Drug Store.

That business dates back to the late 1870s, it says in the book “Huntington County, Indiana: History & Families 1834-1993.” Old Reliable Drug moved locations a few times in its early years, but it moved into the brick building at 2nd and Main in fall 1890.

Through ownership changes, the store briefly became Purvis Drug Store and then Stabler Drugs from 1924-1967, the book says.

Davis hopes to show the found items to Roanoke historical officials to see if they know anything about to whom the “treasure” belonged. She also plans to contact another person she was told may know more about the building's history.

"We will continue to dig and see if we can come up with the name of this little boy," she said.

kkilbane@news-sentinel.com


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