Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway










It’s been a while since I have posted on here, but I wanted to bring to you another small find of mine.  If you have read the blog before, you know that I found an old Rosen’s Beverages soda bottle in a river in New Jersey.  I have a thing for old bottles and cans.  When I was a kid, I thought nothing of them, but now I realize just what a part of history these things can be.  This time we are not in New Jersey though.  As a matter of fact, we are on the complete other side of the country, in Alaska.

As mentioned in a previous post about The Pullen House in Skagway, Alaska, I had the pleasure of spending four months in the beautiful state of Alaska.  It is without a doubt, the most beautiful places I have ever been.  From the natural wonders, to the manmade history of once chased dream of finding gold.

I am back again in Skagway, and this time I was walking up a small creek.  The creek took a bit of a turn to a much higher elevated state.  Now, I didn’t have my camera with me at the time, so I only had my older phone.  I did manage to get some pictures.  There was more than just water and dirt.  The manmade past was in front of me, sitting in the typical Alaskan fashion: ruins.

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway

As I was climbing up, something caught my eye in the water.  I looked down and saw a can.  Upon further inspection, it was a can of “Dad’s Draft Root Beer”.  I was never a fan of root beer, but I instantly started wondering how it got here.  The can looks like it was from the 1970s, so I was imagining kids playing around the possibly still standing bridge/ruins, drinking their “Dad’s Root Beer”, then throwing the can in the creek.

UPDATE: After being in touch with Dad's Root Beer, they believe this can could actually date back to the 1950s!

Alaska has some brutal winters.  Way below freezing.  How many times has this can been frozen under the creek?

The can is in nowhere near good shape, and it has no value to it.  However, the story behind it, the location, the thrill of finding it, now that is where the value is to me.  There are holes in it and you can barely make out the artwork.  From what I can almost make out on the can, it looks like it was packaged by a now renamed or defunct company named “Noel Canning” out of Washington, was enjoyed by some in Skagway, Alaska, and found by someone forty years (me) later who brought it back Florida, where it now lives.

I like old things.  It’s the stories that go with them, even if it’s all just speculation.  This was simply, and pretty much still is simply, just trash.  However, finding it on an expedition through The Last Frontier in an area surrounding you with history?  Now that’s a reason to become a fan of root beer.

Dad’s Root Beer is apparently still around and making soda.  They celebrated their 75th anniversary back in 2012.  They don’t seem very active on social media, and their website doesn’t seem updated, but hopefully this little story can bring them a smile if they stumble upon it.  Just remember: you never know what stories trash can tell you.

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway

dad's root beer draft can 1970s vintage classic old alaska good rush history story abandoned skagway


Thursday, July 9, 2015

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deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

In relation to what you typically find with urban exploration, an abandoned house is more or less common.  One lone, standing building in the middle of nowhere is fun, but what about what you come across an entire town?  This is just the case in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey where a village from the 1800s still can be seen today.

In the mid 1800s, businessman David Felt realized he could not keep up with the demand from his merchants with the mill he had already built in New York.  He looked for land in New Jersey and bought up some property from the Willcox family.  Peter Willcox was the first settler in area that David Felt was looking at who had built a sawmill in that area in the late 1730s.

After Felt bought the land and built his mill and a couple dams, he built a town for the workers.  This town became known as “Feltville”.  The town housed 175 people by 1850, and that usually meant about four families per large house, and two per small house.

In the late 1860s when David Felt sold the property, many other businesses came and went such as in 1882 when it was turned into a summer resort called Glenside Park.  That failed when the Jersey shore (not the show) gained more popularity.

As time went on, the Union Country Park Commission purchased the location, and it was added as a historic location.

The location is open to the public.  When I went there (many years ago), some buildings were in the process of being refurbished.  Some building had people living in them.  Some buildings were tourist buildings.  I, of course, was more interested in none of the above, and instead the ones you were not supposed to enter.

Some of those buildings were in rough shape.  I could tell they were used for storage for building “parts”.  I even went down in a creepy basement.  There were some really historic things to see.  Even the architecture of the building was something to experience such the brick chimney poking through the plaster and paint in the upper bedroom.

When I went, there was an occasional police car.  The houses had plenty of windows, but of course that goes both ways, so I would place myself against a wall to remain out of sight, and all was good.

I could continue writing, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, enjoy some of the pictures I took while I was there.  If you want to see more stuff like this, keep coming back as there is plenty more to come!  Thanks for stopping by.



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deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson
deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson

deserted village of feltville abandoned town new jersey random abanoned dylan benson


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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rosen's beverages south river bottle company new jersey dylan benson antique bottle glass
What may just be seen as a piece of glass to some, is a story of the past to another.  I love local history, especially history that hasn’t been seen for decades, and you get to uncover it yourself.  This is just the case with what happened with this glass “Rosen’s Beverages” bottle.

A few years back, I was canoeing on Farrington Lake (located in Middlesex County in New Jersey).  The 290 acre lake is quite long and narrow, making it seem more like a large river.  It makes canoeing the length quite fun.  When you get to one end of it, it literally becomes a stream that is only a few feet across and less than an inch deep.  I brought my canoe up to as fast a speed as I could when I was getting close to this area so I could bottom it out on the rocks.  As I did, I decided to get out and walk to shore.

No matter where you are in the world, it’s common to find bottles and other garbage in water.  This was no different.  However, when I neared the river bank, I saw a bottle in the water that was completely black.  I could tell it was in the water for some time.  I picked it up and didn’t recognize where it was from.  I placed it in the canoe just for the heck of it, and continued walking.  When I finally canoed back, I decided to clean off the bottle.

rosen's beverages south river bottle company new jersey dylan benson antique bottle glass

I got the bottle to almost its original clarity save for a few brown spots inside that I couldn’t reach.  I was able to see “Rosen’s Beverages”.  There were other markings on it too:

  • Contents 7 FL. Oz.
  • Registered 647-2
  • South River Bottling Co. South River NJ

This was as local as local history gets.  South River was just the town over.  I got quite excited.  Upon further research, not much was found out about either Rosen’s Beverages, or the South River Bottling Company (at least not online).  One newspaper from 1946 came up that had an article about Mr. Rosen, and the bottling company.  Based off of some pictures from the New Jersey Bottle Forum, this bottle is probably 1930s or 1940s.

rosen's beverages south river bottle company new jersey dylan benson antique bottle glassThe newspaper article from the South Amboy Citizen (August 30, 1946) claims that William Rosen headed the South River Bottling Company for the past ten years (which one could conclude to be 1936).  It is interesting to note that the article mentions the strict sanitary precautions the company adheres to.  Something we wouldn’t even question today.  (The article is on the second to last page, at the bottom).



Garbage is everywhere, but sometimes what you can manage to find can quite unique.  It makes you wonder: how did that bottle get there?  Who was drinking out of it?  Why did they discard it where they did?  What did that person end up becoming?  Things like that, one will never know, but it’s fun to imagine.




rosen's beverages south river bottle company new jersey dylan benson antique bottle glass
rosen's beverages south river bottle company new jersey dylan benson antique bottle glass


Sunday, May 10, 2015

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the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson














Have you ever heard the expression, “if walls could talk?”  Well that was just the case when I stumbled upon what is left of this house in ruins.  I did some serious research on what appeared to just be a nothing special, completely abandoned house, because I was planning on using it for a filming location.  As you could imagine, not much turned up on this house in Orlando, Florida.  I was able to trace down the company (not individual) who owned it in a different state.  Before contacting them, I decided to scope out the location first.

Upon first seeing the house, you will notice in the pictures that there is not much left.  Most of the walls still stand, but vandals and fire have consumed a lot of it.  There are a couple sections where parts of the roof remain, and there is furniture, magazines, trash, porn DVDs, and countless other things littering the property both inside and out.  It was a real mess.

Upon entering the house, I decided to implement a trick I learned from the famous YouTuber, AdamTheWoo, and say hello when entering.  This was the first time I ever announced my arrival.  I said hello and continued, but I was taken back when I actually heard a response.  This is where I met “Ross the Tree Climber”.  Ross made a living off of removing Spanish Moss from tress, hence to name, but there was something about him that was awe-inspiring.

He was living in a section of the house there still had a closeable door and a roof.  He had some furniture there, and some of his belongings.  Right away, he welcomed me in, and cleared off a chair and offered me a place to sit.  He was a very fact knowing man.  He talked about history and local news.

After some chitchat, I told him why I was there (scouting for a filming location).  He told me the owner’s name, but it did not match what I had dug up.  That leads me to believe that was the owner’s name before he perhaps lost the property, or Ross didn’t have his facts straight.  Regardless, he told me about the house as well.  The stories were too good for them to be fabricated.

Apparently, someone in the local mafia lived in that house long ago.  I didn’t even know Orlando had a mafia, but apparently they did.  The house was the forefront of corrupt police, murder, and other illegal activities.  The house eventually became what you see now: a pile of nothing.  Apparently the fire happened in the recent years from vandals.

Ross was a very generous man for not having much.  He offered me a place to sit, and his company.  When leaving the house, I mentioned to him my other blog, The Random Firearm.  There was a book about guns sitting in a pile of things once part of the house.  Aside from some dirt on the cover, it was in fine shape.  He gave it to me.  A man who had nothing gave me something.  I still have the book. 

The house rots away, but even now with Ross and the encounter I had with him, the walls will continue to accumulate stories to tell, for as long as they will remain standing.  From corruption to generous giving, the stories will continue.



the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson

the random abandoned orlando florida mafia hideout vandalism urban exploration urbex dylan benson


Friday, May 1, 2015

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pullen house abandoned skagway alaska harriett dylan benson














The last job that I had allowed me the amazing opportunity to spend four months in what I now consider to be the most beautiful state in the United States that I have been in: Alaska.  I fell in love with the mountains, the people, the history, and the culture.  One of the things I found most interesting was the past that was left behind to still be seen today.

My favorite town that I had been in was Skagway, Alaska.  Anyone who may have played the old “Yukon Trail” game is probably familiar with it.  It’s an old gold rush town that still lives to this day.  Since it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, most things that came in, such as cars and culture, never left.  Some things however, were forced to be removed.


The Pullen House Hotel all started when Harriett Pullen decided to head to Skagway, Alaska in an effort to make a living to support her four children.  A founder of the town, Captain William Moore, hired her as a cook to help feed his crew of workers.  She became quite the inventive entrepreneur.  She would collect empty tin cans and beat them into pie pans.  Pretty soon, she had her own profitable side business selling pies to the stampeders looking for gold.

A little fun fact: During the time of the gold rush, a piece of apple pie and a cup of coffee from a tent restaurant on the trail for the gold could cost $2.50.  This was the same time where you could buy a three course meal from a fancy restaurant in a big city like San Francisco for twenty-five cents.

After Pullen made some money, she opened up a freighting business with some horses.  When the gold rush died down, she decided to open a hotel.  In 1901, she bought Captain William Moore’s house, and turned it into the Pullen House Hotel.  The hotel became one of the most luxurious hotels in existence at the time: fine china, silver, soft beds, and bathtubs.  She collected gold rush memorabilia and shared the story of the town’s past to the tourists who would arrive.

 
In 1923 President Warren G. Harding made a visit to Skagway, Alaska.  He was given a tour of the city by the still currently existing Skagway Street Car tour company, and he gave an address at the fancy Pullen House.

In 1943, fire badly damaged parts of Skagway, including the Pullen House, and in 1947, Harriett Pullen passed away.  As time went on, the Pullen House became more and more rundown, and in 1989, it was finally all demolished.  Today, all the is left of the famous and luxurious Pullen House are a few scattered bricks, and the base of a fireplace and chimney, still proudly showing the word “PULLEN” as it has for over 100 years.

For more information about Harriett Pullen and the Pullen House check out As Precious as Gold, and Skagway History.  All archival photos are courtesy of Alaska’s Digital Archives.

The Pullen House Today

pullen house abandoned skagway alaska harriett dylan benson 

pullen house abandoned skagway alaska harriett dylan benson