Don’t throw away historic treasures

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Every day I drive old Highway 51, and every time I travel this stretch of highway I see where someone has dumped garbage. I stop to look through it to see if I can find the name and address of the person it belonged to. Under state law, you can be arrested if your name is in the garbage.

On several occasions, I have found all kinds of old items, such as tools, glassware and etc. This makes me think that perhaps these items belonged to someone’s parents or even grandparents who have passed away, and the children are cleaning out the old barn, shed or the house. Items from the 1800s are just thrown by the wayside into a ditch and could have been lost forever. I bet if these items could talk, they could tell quite a story. So, if you have the chore of cleaning out after the loss of a loved one, don’t throw those old things into a ditch where the history may be lost forever.

With that being said, it leads me to the rest of the story. Just a few days ago, Mr. Sonny Snyder of LaPlace gave me a call and he said he wanted to donate some old items to my museum. I want to tell you

about several of the items that he donated. One item is a mall; it was used to split cypress logs so they could be used to make cross ties. Mr. Snyder’s grandfather, Gus Madere, worked in the swamp in the late 1800s or early 1900s and would get

10 cents for every cross tie he

made. This mall, or very large hammer, must weigh at least 30 to 40 pounds, and I can’t imagine someone using it every day to split cypress and earn as little as 10 cents a cross tie.

Another item that was unique and different was a pair of ice tongs. Years ago, we had ice boxes and not a refrigerator. The ice man would bring you a block of ice to go into your ice box, and the block of ice was carried with a pair of ice tongs. The museum now has a pair of ice tongs on display thanks to Mr. Snyder.

Also, wooden barrels were used

for many things, and around these barrels there was an iron ring. There was a spiral hammer used to hammer down the iron ring that went around these barrels. The museum now has two of these

hammers on display plus many other items donated by Mr. Snyder. So now when you visit we have a little more of history preserved with these items from the past. So keep in mind, what you throw out might have an interesting history behind it, if only it could talk.

Louisiana Treasures Museum has over 2,000 bottles on display along with all the other collections from the past. For more information or hours of operation or even to schedule tours contact Wayne Norwood at 225-294-8352.    

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.