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Man renovates bathroom, finds old photos

SALYERSVILLE – A local man was renovating his bathroom when he stumbled across an old box covered in blow-in insulation back in a crawl space, and what he found was pieces of his family’s history no one knew was missing.

Brad Patrick lives in his great-grandfather’s old house, which was built in the mid-1920s, that he and his wife have been working to renovate over the last few years.

“Two weeks ago I was in the upstairs bathroom pulling everything out, and behind the bathroom wall there is a old crawl space where you can get to the plumbing and everything, and it had that old blow-in insulation,” Patrick said. “I started noticing there was a cardboard box pushed to the side.”

Patrick started going through the box and found old receipts and paperwork from where his great-grandfather, Sherman Bailey, owned a coal business. 

Thinking the box was just old business files, mostly dated for the 1950s, he almost stopped there, but he kept digging, eventually finding old family photos, military papers, and a pocket watch in a leather pouch. 

Bailey bought the home, originally owned by Iris Ramey, around the late 1940s or early 1950s, and Patrick knows they had remodeled the home at least one time, which is when he thinks the box could have been stored and forgotten. 

Just as a throwback-Thursday post on Facebook, Patrick uploaded many of the photos he found, and between the Facebook community and his family, he said they’ve been able to identify most of the pictures, including photos of his grandmother’s step-mom, Lexie Bailey, one of the Tip Top Church, an old community post office based in the Buchanan Coal Co., Inc., building (which was later a rental home), and a picture of his great uncles Kenneth “Tucker” and Darrell Bailey. One photo of Suedell Jordan was taken on Patrick’s front porch. Many of the photos were from Tip Top, where the coal business was located, but showed the quality of the roads at that time.

He said the photos and information have brought up old family stories he had heard growing up about the people and the places in the photos, but he would still like to know why the pictures were hidden in the crawl space.

“I was astonished, shocked, amazed – I guess a combo of all three,” Patrick said. “It’s so interesting and the box was full of all these photos and papers that were in pretty good shape for being up there for as long as it’s been, just tucked behind a bathroom wall.”

Two photos in particular have gone unidentified. Patrick said no one knows who are in the two photos, but they are definitely old, appearing to be around the turn of the century. The quality of the pictures is surprisingly clear for the time period. 

If anyone has any information about the two unidentified photos, Patrick said they can contact him through Facebook or by calling 606-349-4991.


Photo from Brad Patrick



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