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.

Curators review the historic items that were found during the initial phase of the Cannon Renewal project.

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.

Newspaper and bronze spout found during 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 found during Phase 1 of the Cannon House Office Building renewal project.
Bottles found during Phase 1 of the Cannon House Office Building renewal project.

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 discovered during the renewal of the Cannon House Office Building.

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.


What treasure in litter from long ago. Interesting story. Thank you, Kristen!

Very cool!!!

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! :)

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

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.

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.

Fascinating! Casual discards from an earlier age become our "surprise" treasures.

Interesting share; thank you.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Recent News

Noteworthy Updates

History & Discoveries

The Architect of the Capitol Sweeps Up the Past

When Jim Kaufmann, Capitol Grounds and Arboretum Director, happened across an 1891 street-sweeping map while going through cultural landscape reports, he had no idea how simple an old map could make caring for the U.S. Capitol Grounds.
Public Notice

Volume 19 of Tholos Magazine Now Available

The latest edition of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) employee magazine, Tholos, is now available. Article themes include Cool Tools, Organizational Transformation, Seasonal Highlight, Doing Good, Project Updates, and Spotlight on Safety.