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The Kittitas Valley goes back far and wide through the generations, connecting with the first pioneers and homesteaders in the Pacific Northwest, dating back to the 19th century. Many of those ancient footprints show up even now.

So, when Scott and Audrey Roberts moved into an old property out on Tjossem Road they had no idea what they might find on the 4.2 acre property. The original barnwood siding on the house and several out buildings is the original wood used in 1939 construction. One of the Quonset Hut out buildings has a windshield to an old Model T. They have yet to determine what the pump house, shop and horse delivery might have to offer since they’ve only been in the residence for less than a couple of months.

The area itself is historically documented with two books written by Robert P. Tjossem about his life and original homesteaders from the R. Paul Tjossem family. The 500-square foot house is a two-bedroom, turn-of-the century structure with several add-on rooms for additional space. One interesting characteristic is the brick chimney in the center of the house stemming from the kitchen.

If your treasure is everyday items dating back hundreds of years, Scott struck gold when he was doing some remodeling and discovered newspapers in the wall dated 1888 and 1890.

“It’s really kind of cool,” said Scott, who moved into the house Aug. 1. “There’s some old stuff like a record player and a Model T windshield out in the shop. But I didn’t expect to find anything like this in the wall of the house.

“On one of the planks, I peeled away the layers of tar paper and tin and discovered the newspaper on one of the planks. You can’t read the whole article because it’s glued on, but it says Kittitas County Times and Ellensburg Central Times. The articles are from 1888 and a couple from 1890.”

The discovery is not an entire newspaper, but just a few pages used, possibly, for insulation inside the structure. Roberts said there was tin foil and tar paper and metal siding on top of it, so it wasn’t readily visible until he peeled back the side of the house for the discovery.

“It’s kind of fun to read what is there, because they are pasted on in such a way that’s not a whole page,” he said. “It’s cool having a piece of history associated to the house. The house was built in 1939, almost 10 years before I was born.

“There’s been quite a few people that have lived in the house over the years. So, there is a lot of history associated with it. We’re still going through the out buildings, but we’re discovering things along the way. So, to discover these newspapers dating back to 1888 was really cool because that’s something you don’t see every day.”

The focus at this time is the heating and cooling systems, address plumbing issues. They intend to possibly restore the barnwood or use it on different projects.

“I’ve had people tell me that I should tear down the chimney in the kitchen, but I kind of like it,” Roberts said.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and Scott and Audrey Roberts are finding bits of history in a work in progress out on Tjossem Road.


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