Monday, October 10, 2016

Wellington Man Strikes Gold – October 1949 Part 1

The “treasure house” at 250 Prospect Street in Wellington
as it looked in October 1949 (Courtesy
While reading Looking Back on Lorain County by Ernie Henes recently, I found an interesting tale of hidden treasure in Wellington dating from October 1949.

As described by Mr. Henes, “Announcement of the discovery of a hidden cache of $30,000 in gold certificates in a brick wall of his Prospect Street residence in October 1949 by Wellington Sanitary Engineer R. A. Cordray brought instantaneous publicity to him and the community. Throngs of reporters and cameramen arrived and within 24 hours, the story of the unusual find had made its way across the country.”

1882 Gold Certificate
(Courtesy WikiMedia)
According to Wikipedia, gold certificates were used from 1863 to 1933 as a form of paper currency. The certificates represented actual gold coinage.

How did Cordray discover the gold certificates?

As Henes related, “The certificates were found when Cordray and his helper, Rollie Smith were installing a gas heater in the basement. They tore away part of an old wall and found a metal box containing the gold certificates – certificates that had been recalled in the early 1930s by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

Cordray’s home had an interesting past. Henes stated, “The 16-room house was built in 1895 by B. G. Palmer, a Wellington industrialist. It had changed hands several times.”

(Other online sources state that the name of the Wellington businessman was G. H. Palmer.)

Tomorrow we’ll examine the October 1949 media coverage, and find out if Cordray was able to keep his loot.

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