It's a miracle that it wasn't destroyed.
Like General Motors, Ford already has a considerable presence in the state of Michigan. Its factories in the state include the Michigan Assembly Plant where the Ford Bronco is built and the Dearborn facility which is where the company chose to reveal the new F-150 Lightning. Ford is currently expanding its footprint in the state after it purchased the Michigan Central Station in 2018 as part of plans to revive the area and use part of it as a Ford technology and innovation site.
With construction work ongoing, workers stumbled upon something rather special: a pre-Prohibition-era Stroh's beer bottle with an unknown message inside, written on a piece of neatly folded paper. While it may not sound as exciting as the classic barn finds we're used to, it's still a well-preserved item from a bygone era.
The message inside the bottle is understood to have been written way back in 1913 by two men working on the building when it was originally being built. The specific date stamp on the bottle is 7-19-13 and it was discovered in early May by laborer Lukas Nielsen and foreman Leo Kimble. It was Nielsen that first noticed the glass bottle behind a section of plaster cornice.
"It was extremely tempting, it really was," said Nielsen about wanting to open the bottle before electing to leave it closed. "If we did anything to remove it, we would have destroyed it."
This message in a bottle is one of the more interesting of the over 200 items to have been found since Ford began its renovation of the facility.
Ford is now in possession of the message in a bottle and the artifact will need to be carefully preserved in a temperature-controlled environment.
"The main thing you have to do is slow down the deterioration of the paper," said Ted Ryan, Heritage and Brand Manager. "With the bottle, that's easy because it's glass, but we'll also have to make sure the rest of the label doesn't deteriorate. It's just like the pieces of a classic car."
For now, it's not clear what this 108-year-old message was about but it's a remarkable find over a century later. Ford has already spent a lot of time testing self-driving cars in Detroit and the revamped Michigan Central Station will only increase its activities in the area when it is completed by the end of next year.