The Mystery Paper and the Origin of Google

While tearing out the old bathroom, we discovered old newspapers stuffed in the wall, presumably for their insulation value. Two Milwaukee Journal color comic sections from September 24, 1924 and November 23, 1924 are not to be salvaged – they disintegrate with any movement – but raise an interesting question:

Why would there be papers from 1924 in a wall that was built in 1917? Did it only take seven years for the original bathroom to require renovation? What went wrong? We may never know, since the building permit records from the time are sketchy.

We also expected to find evidence of a clawfoot tub, but there is none. The traces of it may have been lost in prior remodels. The floor-mounted beast that we have removed has a date code of 1956.

But the floor was originally maple as we expected, treated like the other floors in the house, with a couple of coats of amber shellac. It, too, is too far gone to be salvaged.

Finally, it was surreal to spot the word “Google” on one of the comics. It appears we’ve stumbled onto the origin of the brand: Barney Google was a character in a strip by the cartoonist Billy DeBeck.

“Is Yo’ Cwazy, Mistah’ Google? Takin’ a bath aftah bein’ in de harbor fo’ hours??”

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