Couple Finds 66 Bottles Of Prohibition-Era Whiskey Hidden In The Walls Of Their New York Home
A couple from New York got more than they bargained for when they began renovating their century-old home.
Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker had heard rumours their house had been built by a notorious bootlegger, but it wasn’t until they found 66 bottles of Prohibition-era whiskey that they realised it was true.
The couple found the bottles hidden in the walls and under the floorboards of their home, which was built in 1915 – just five years before the US implemented a national ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcohol.
Despite having lived in the house in Ames – around three hours away from New York City – for three years, Nick and Patrick only made the discovery when they began the renovations two months ago.
‘Our walls are filled with booze! I can’t believe the rumours are true! He was actually a bootlegger,’ Nick wrote on their Instagram account, aptly titled Bootlegger Bungalow.
The couple were taking off the skirting board in the mudroom attached to the house, when an unexpected package fell out.
‘I’m like what is that? I’m very confused. I’m looking and there’s hay everywhere, there’s paper, and glass. I see another package and it’s this whiskey bottle,’ Nick, who works as a designer and historic preservationist, told CNN.
‘I’m like holy crap. This is like a whiskey stash. And this is like, all of a sudden, the whole story of the bootlegger.’
In another discovery, Nick and Patrick found a hidden hatch under the floor, which led to the discovery of yet more bottles of whiskey wrapped in tissue paper and straw.
All were labelled as Old Smuggler Gaelic whiskey, which is a Scottish brand that is still made today.
The house used to belong to a German man called Count Adoph Humpfner, who was known to be involved in many scandals in the town.
Nick and Patrick began researching Humpfner, only to discover he died under potentially suspicious circumstances in 1932, leaving behind all of his smuggled whiskey.
‘He had many aliases and was known as the mystery man of the Mohawk Valley, and The Count; although there was never proof of his royalty beyond his own claims,’ Nick wrote on Instagram.
‘He ran away from his family in Bavaria, and his wife had been missing since 1912. She was eventually declared legally dead in 1935, but then discovered alive at a beach in Brooklyn in 1936.’
It was a mystery to locals at the time how he amassed his fortune. He owned a local bank, the school gymnasium, and 23 properties in NYC and NJ. After his death, multiple secret compartments were found in his truck and businesses but they could never prove anything!
There were also papers strewn around his home with deeds to various properties, foreign bank accounts, and aliases. There was a huge drama over who got his fortune after his death.
Now, Nick and Patrick plan to leave the empty bottles preserved in the home and sell the full bottles, which are said to be worth around $1,000 each. They will, however, keep one bottle so they can have a taste test.
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