Beer and gum stashed 30+ years ago at Walla Walla Public Library discovered


WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A stash of beer and gum that dates back to the 1980s was discovered inside the Walla Walla Public Library, city officials said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

With the library closed because of the pandemic, staff have been working to improve the layout before it reopens to the public. While moving the library’s mystery section to a more accessible place, a crew member uncovered a “real-life whodunit” when he removed a corner panel on some 1970s-era shelving.

Along with the usual dust and dead bugs, he found five unopened cans of Hamm’s — “the beer refreshing” — and some “monstrously stale gum still in its vibrant packaging,” along with a moldering paper bag, city officials said. 

It appears that someone had taken a cue from “Treasure Island” and stashed their booty behind the shelving, but then was unable to retrieve it.

City officials said 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, which indicates that the goods were stored inside the library for upward of 30 years, city officials said.

What’s the next chapter for the “artifacts?” After chewing on the question for a while, library staff decided to transfer them to another city facility — the Sudbury Landfill.

“It’s probably not the outcome the trove owner expected; unfortunately, not every story has a happy ending,” city officials said.