A 90-Year-Old Time Capsule Was Just Discovered in an L.A. Home on the Market

yellow spanish-style house
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
2303 Wayne Avenue in Los Feliz.

Finding a message in the walls of your house from a former inhabitant might sound like the start of a fictional horror story. As it turns out, it's real life in Los Angeles — but it's the furthest thing from creepy.

letters and photos from a time capsule
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
The contents of the time capsule.

According to a real estate listing for an adorable Spanish Colonial Revival home at 2303 Wayne Avenue in Los Feliz (shout out to our friends at Curbed for calling it to our attention!), a 90-year-old time capsule with a letter, two vintage photos, and other documents was recently found in the walls of the house during a renovation. The original occupants of the home, Mr. Nathan and Clara Pallow, left it there to share a little history and good tidings with a future occupant.

old photo of the house
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
A historic photo of the house.

"Life is compared to a relay race — you pick it up where we left off," wrote the Pallows in the letter, before launching into a witty description of California life in 1940. "I might mention that earthquakes are practically unknown. Nearly everyone claims it just Florida propaganda."

old photo of the Pallows
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
Mr. and Mrs. N.A. Pallow.

Much of the letter still feels hilariously true. "There is a delightful informality in the way people dress (or shall we say 'undress') for the street. You can see anything and almost everything until one gets tired of lifting an eyebrow ... there are some shorts that couldn't be much shorter without being a necklace," the couple wrote.

time capsule letter
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
The beginning of the time capsule letter.

In another portion: "When we think of Hollywood we usually think of celebrities and glamorous girls and boys, but they are not running around loose on the streets. Occasionally we do see a star in one of the many great open front markets, but you have to look them over pretty carefully to even know them, because after their glamour is washed off and left behind at the studios, they look just like ordinary mortals ... "

We're curious as to what the couple did for a living, since whoever actually penned the note included amazing original illustrations. (Perhaps one worked at Disney's animation studio, which used to be not far from the home?)

time capsule letter
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
The couple describes life in Hollywood in the '40s.

The couple commissioned local architect Louis Selden to build the home in 1937. As it currently stands, it has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a formal dining room, detached two-car garage, and a patio with a fountain, all in pristine condition, thanks to the renovation. It's currently listed at $1.75 million.

contemporary interior of the house
credit: Paul Barnaby and Michael Wilkerson
The current interior of 2303 Wayne Avenue.

Read the full letter on the listing,.


Stefanie Waldek

Stefanie Waldek

Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.