July 18

Note from 1973 found hidden in wall of QA home



The owners of a house on Queen Anne were in for a treat when a note from the past was discovered hidden in one of their walls last month. Michael Marsh and his wife were doing some remodeling on their home when a construction worker found a note addressed to “future man” tucked away inside a wall.

The note, written and placed in the wall by a man named Jack Barbour on August 19, 1973, contained a sentiment reflective of its time. “Hope your world is a little better than ours,” Jack wrote.

Ironically, the note would likely not have been found if the Marshs hadn’t opted to salvage materials from their remodel, rather than tear down and throw them away. Instead of calling in a construction crew, they called in a local salvage company, Second Use Building Materials, which diverts waste by salvaging old building materials and reselling them. Their crew was carefully dismantling the panels and door jams when field crew lead Flynn Bickley found the note. Bickley shared the story of how the note was found, and what his initial reaction was:

Our company was contracted to do some non-structural salvage of the house where the note was found.  Part of what we were going after was the lintels, or, the piece of trim that runs over the top part of a door. I was pulling those when I found the note sitting on top of the jamb. I know it may sound funny but I had a little feeling I would find something that day or at least I was feeling a strong desire to find something! When I first saw the note I was excited at the prospect of what it could contain and that feeling was only amplified upon seeing what Jack had written on the outside, “Hello-from the past”–what a great line!

When I opened it and read it I felt excitement and wonder and appreciation for Jack’s forethought and playfulness in deciding to leave the note.  What he wrote struck me as spontaneous and true.  My boss and I reflected briefly on what was going on on history at that time…Watergate…the Vietnam War…hippies…our country had been through some major changes in the previous decade or so, maybe he was thinking about that?

As it turns out Mrs. Marsh actually knew Barbour, who reportedly passed away 20 years ago. After finding the note Bickley says it was returned it to the homeowners who wanted to keep the memento.


Flynn Bickley, hidden note, Jack Barbour, lost note, note to future man, Queen Anne, Second Use Building Materials

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