Official painted portrait of 11th Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers.
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A bowler hat discovered during the renewal of the Cannon House Office Building.

Cool Cannon Construction Finds

During the process of renewing the Cannon House Office Building, workers have found hidden treasures that had been lost or discarded by the laborers who constructed the building more than 100 years ago. Here's a small sampling of what has been discovered since the start of the Cannon Renewal project in 2015.

House curator Farar Elliott and Architect of the Capitol curator Michele Cohen review the historic items that were found during the initial phase of the Cannon Renewal project.

Newspapers and a spout.

  • Discarded and crumpled newspapers, some 100 years old, have been found behind the walls and in the ceilings.
  • Excavation in the east basement corridor led to the discovery of this bronze spout that was most likely used on a pipe connection.

Construction materials and bottles.

  • Construction materials used during the original building construction in the early 1900s have been a common find.
  • Bottles of all shapes and sizes were found hidden behind walls during demolition.

A bowler hat.

  • Nestled in a first-floor crawlspace near the southwest elevators, an electrician discovered a bowler hat that may be from the days of the Cannon Building's original construction. Before the ubiquity of hard hats on construction sites, it was common for workers in the early 1900s to wear felt bowler hats.


David Linn (not verified)
What treasure in litter from long ago. Interesting story. Thank you, Kristen!

Latisha Williams (not verified)
Thank you for sharing. This is so cool! I look forward to hearing about other discoveries since we have 3 more phases to go. Keep it coming! :)

Michael J. Lilly (not verified)
As a retired construction mechanic, a plumber, your sharing with me is a gift into the past. So many of my memories are from what was found during renovations. Please keep these "finds" coming

Priscilla Cannon (not verified)
Thanks for sharing this was a very exciting article to read. Learning more about the building historic items that were found,and original construction materials . Can’t wait to read more on the next findings.

Carla Pimentel (not verified)
I love seeing and hearing about finds like this. Thank you for sharing. I am an Electrician at the Supreme Court and it is amazing to me the craftsmanship that our buildings have here on the Hill. To find stuff that belonged to the trades back then is so very awesome.

Linda Levitan (not verified)
Fascinating! Casual discards from an earlier age become our "surprise" treasures.

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