Home Renovation Leads to Unusual Backyard Find

You never know what you'll find tearing apart an old house.

Any time you tear apart a home in a renovation, there’s a chance you’ll find something interesting under the floorboards or in a wall cavity. Still, it’s hard to imagine a discovery as curious as the one made by a man in Michigan earlier this month.

According to the Associated Press, 33-year-old David Olson of Norton Shores, Michigan, was demolishing the back steps of his home on July 1 when he came across something odd: a bowling ball. Things got stranger from there.

“I didn’t think a whole lot (about) it,” Olson told the Detroit Free Press. “I was kind of assuming maybe there were just a couple in there just to fill in. The deeper I got into it the more I realized it was just basically an entire gridwork of them making up the weight in there.”

Over the next few days, Olson uncovered more than 150 bowling balls underneath his house. And he’s pretty sure that’s not all of them.

“There’s definitely more,” he said. “But at this point in the area I need to work, I’ve dug down about two feet lower than when I found my last ball, and I think it’s pretty much cleared out in that section.”

As any safety-conscious DIYer would, Olson contacted the bowling ball manufacturer to see how they could be disposed of. The company ran the serial numbers and determined they had been made in the 1950s at a plant in the area. According to Olson, former plant workers contacted him and said it was common practice for builders to use scrapped bowling balls instead of traditional fill materials like gravel and sand.

Olson plans to use some of the bowling balls as part of his landscaping, and has donated a few to a local church. For the time being, the rest will remain buried, unless Olson happens to raise enough funds to replace his deck, too. 

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