A Search of the Attic Turns Up … Absolutely Nothing

The Attic at This American House

You know those stories about the homeowner who cleans out his attic or cuts into a wall and finds hidden treasure? It’s usually a priceless painting or a box full of old stocks and bonds or some such. Well, this is not one of those stories. Dammit.

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Back when I was a kid, Geraldo Rivera famously explored Al Capone’s secret vault. There was a television special devoted to Rivera’s exploration and the hype leading up to it was insane. I don’t remember how long the program was – an hour, maybe two – but I do remember that in the end the vault turned out to be empty. Well, slap a big, ugly mustache on me and call me Geraldo because the same thing happened in our search of the house’s attic.

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To gain access to the attic, there’s a wooden ladder stowed away in the upstairs linen closet. The ladder hooks onto the wall trim and, once you climb up, you can remove the grille to get into the attic. In the original plans for the house, this is referred to as a “vent with grille.” This has us wondering whether the grille used to be open to allow for airflow in the summer/winter. In its current that, the grill is one solid piece and, as you can see in the photo above, removing it sends a flurry of insulation and other dust raining down on the floor. In other words, have the vacuum cleaner ready to go once you remove the grille!

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The good news is that the attic is free of bats and raccoon and other wildlife. The bad news is that it’s always free of priceless artworks and chests full of diamonds and pearls. What we did find up there is a lot of insulation and a creepy rope.

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We didn’t actually boost ourselves up into the attic and walk around. From what I’ve heard, one wrong step in an attic can send a foot through a ceiling. Not wanting to damage anything (and maybe because we’re both terrified by spiders and their sticky, icky webs), we shined a flashlight into the space and looked around from the safety of the top rung of the ladder. Although the attic may be lacking secret treasures, it’s still really cool to peek into it. To think that the lumber that forms the roof of the house is nearly 100 years old is pretty incredible. it’s also good to discover that there’s plenty of insulation at the top of this big, old house.

Still, our fingers are crossed that that pot of gold will be unearthed somewhere in the house!

Images: This American House

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