Remnants of Shelby life

Published 2:57 pm Monday, March 16, 2009

If Aimee Livesay’s teacher ever decides to hold a show–and–tell day, this fifth-grader can find all the items she needs right down the hallway in a 12-foot display case.

Her dad David went along on a class field trip to the Shelby Iron Works Park last year. While there, he discovered a field full of artifacts.

“I guess the field used to be an old trash dump for the iron mill,” Livesay said. “It had come a good rain and many of the things had washed up to the top of the mud. It was amazing to see a bunch of stuff more than a hundred years old just lying there.”

What the two found on the field trip spurred a three-month treasure hunt in Shelby. Now, hundreds of broken shards of china, iron shovels and pottery sit at Shelby Elementary School from which kids can learn about the area’s past. Aimee said discovering each new piece excited her.

“Kids from school were just amazed that two people found all of that stuff. We probably found more than 350 pieces,” Aimee said. “Whenever we would research, we would find out something else unique about one of the pieces.”

Both find themselves particularly intrigued by a brass button. David said the button is engraved with two hounds and looks like it came from a wealthy man’s sports jacket. The Livesays also discovered remnants of glass bottles.

The two did some research to determine the pieces had been created in the 1880s, because the bottle’s seams didn’t run all the way to the lip like modern bottles do.

“Aimee and I had a lot of fun and learned a lot from the artifacts,” David said. “We would get on the Internet and look up things to find out what they might have been used for.”

Even though the Livesays aren’t from Shelby, they quickly wanted to learn more about it’s history. Living in Germany for nine months originally peaked their interest in local history.

David spent most of his spare time there walking around an old World War II battlefield. He said he came across hundreds of items abandoned after the war. Aimee assisted him on those adventures as well.

“I’ve had a lot of interest in history especially since we lived in Germany,” Aimee said. “It was exciting finding all of that stuff.”

Now, the case holds numerous items and will soon include a multimedia presentation.

“I think there are plans to eventually cover that field,” David said. “If we hadn’t found this stuff all of that history would have been lost forever.”