Library staff decided to move the "artifacts" to another Walla Walla city facility: the local landfill

By Ashley Boucher
August 14, 2020 07:43 PM
Beer and gum found at the Walla Walla library
City of Walla Walla Government Facebook

Staff members at a library in Washington experienced a blast from the past this week when cans of beer and chewing gum from the 1980s were discovered behind some shelves.

Five cans of Hamms beer and a package of Godzilla Heads gum were discovered at the Walla Walla, Washington, library as staff members rearranged the layout while the 50-year-old building is closed during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"While moving the mystery collection to a more accessible place, a Facilities crew member uncovered a real-life whodunit when he removed a corner panel on some 1970s-era shelving with an open top," the city of Walla Walla said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"Along with the usual dust and dead bugs, he found five unopened cans of 'the beer refreshing' and some monstrously stale gum still in its vibrant packaging, along with a moldering paper bag," the Facebook post continued. 

"Someone had apparently taken a cue from Treasure Island and stashed their booty behind the shelving, but then wasn't able to retreive [sic] it."

Library staff estimate the "booty" has been hiding behind the mystery shelves for more than three decades. 

"Godzilla Heads gum dates to the late 1980s, and the rule that requires warnings to be printed on alcohol containers was enacted in November 1988," the Facebook post said. "So we think the goods were there for upward of 30 years. Talk about a long shelf life!"

Library staff decided to move the "artifacts" to another Walla Walla city facility: the local landfill. 

"It's probably not the outcome the trove owner expected; unfortunately, not every story has a happy ending," the Facebook post concluded.  

Erin Wells, the library's director, told CNN that discovering the nostalgic snacks brought "a bit of levity during a difficult time."

"It looked like somebody had just stashed it there and maybe thought they could get it later ... but there was no way to get it out," Wells told the outlet. "There were probably six beers that they bought and there was only five that we found so they might not have been thinking straight when they did it."