Seventy-six-year-old wedding book found inside the walls of a Thunder Bay home

The marriage documents are being returned to Dolly Carlson, whose husband built the house

THUNDER BAY — Renovations to a Christina Street home recently uncovered the wedding book from a marriage that began in Thunder Bay 76 years ago.

Now the marriage certificate and guest list from her wedding to her late husband Alf are on their way to Dolly Carlson, now living in Kelowna, BC.

“I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was in safety deposit box with the rest of my papers,” Carlson says.

The documents were found during renovations being done to the house by the in-laws of Thunder Bay resident Melanie Wolframe.

Wolframe decided immediately to try to track down the family connected to it, so she posted photos on the Thunder Bay Memories Facebook page.

“It just kind of blew up from there,” she said. “I knew that would be the place to go. People are checking there all the time. People are fascinated by nostalgia.”

Wolframe expected that someone would recognize a name on the guest list, but the response was overwhelming.

“There were just so many people that reached out. ‘That’s my aunt. That’s my uncle,’ ” she said, adding that one woman remembered signing the guest list when she was just 12 years old.

Dolly recalls the matrimonial home fondly.

The couple had met at the naval hospital in Halifax where Alf was being treated for wounds suffered in WW 2. 

He had family at the Lakehead, so they decided to live here. 

Shortly after their arrival in 1945, Alf purchased the lot through a city tax sale for $200, and built the house himself. 

Dolly said it was a lot of hard work.

“We hardly had any money. My husband dug the basement by hand and did all the wiring and all the plumbing. I helped him with the insulation and the hardwood floors. It was a labour of love.”

The couple lived in the house for 46 years.

As for how the wedding book got in the wall, Carlson said “I can’t fathom that.”

But she said she’s very grateful the new owners didn’t just discard it.

According to Wolframe, another family member recalled that Alf liked to hide things in the walls.

She said it’s a treat for her in-laws to know something about the original owners.

“Having this story to your home, knowing who built it and how long they were here, raising their family. That’s like Westfort, eh?  All the homes are older, but you don’t really get to know who was living in your house before. It’s a super-great connection straight to the past.”