The Edwards Agency

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There's gold in garbage dumps and outhouse holes

bottle collection

Here you see a mere part of Jack's hundreds of old and often rare old-time bottles he's collected over the years.
Photo by Oscar Roloff.

Oscar Roloff by Oscar Roloff
Jack Riggs of Woodinville uses positive thinking when on forays into yesterday's discards, and he has a basement full of proof. It boggles the mind to sit there and look at his horde--mostly bottles--of all colors, sizes, and shapes.
   With his partners, he goes to Northwest garbage dumps and they dig in, or rather down, to even five feet for loot. They check with city officials and others as to the locations of dumps of old and sally forth.
   I told Jack that a couple in Everett check house location sites and outhouse sites and find many a collector's bottle.
   Jack said, "We do, too. Years ago, people threw empty 'poison' bottles down the outhouse holes. This kept them away from children."
   I told Jack that my Uncle Carl used to hide his Old Crow whiskey bottles in their outhouse. Often he'd go out and take a snort or two. Once in awhile out there, he heard his wife coming, and by accident, flung the full bottle down the hole. For days, he moaned and groaned at the terrible loss.
   I told Jack where the site was. Old Crow bottles, especially a full one, are worth money, he said.
   Initially, Jack (then from Spokane) began his digging at their city's old dumps. "I like to dig up history and have continued my hobby. I have a book that gives me data on certain bottles," he said.
   One of his rare finds was a real small bottle that used to contain opium. Doing some research, he found that in pre-1900 days, there was a building in Spokane that had an entrance via the roof. Men would slide down inside and indulge in the stuff.
   His bottle collection varies in price value as well as colors. Many are blue and green. They appear to be his favorites.
   The four-year Navy veteran said his wife Clarice and their three children, Lana, Nicole, and Lou, enjoy his hobby, especially when he explains that it isn't always the cleanest hobby there is. It's often grimy, dirty, and exhausting, but the fun far outweighs that aspect.
   Years ago, Jack left Spokane to become affiliated with Woodinville Vintage Auto Parts. As for his boss, Terry Jarvis, Jack said, "He's one of the best I ever had. He's also the Mayor for Life of the City of Grace."
   Of course, since I'm a Navy veteran too, we have a lot in common, and we wonder how the new Navy is faring and are glad to be out in civilian endeavor.