Are you curious about who has lived in your apartment before you? Many apartments have a long and varied resident history that can be fun to figure out. Want to find out more about your apartment history?
You don’t even need to leave your apartment to start your search for clues about the history of your apartment. Look in drawers, peek in the dark recesses of cabinets and admire the scars and scratches of years past. These are all indicators of who may have lived in your apartment before you. For example, you might find a growth chart penciled in a door frame that tracked the height of the children who played there. You may find water rings on the patio from planters that an avid gardener used. Or you could find trinkets or long-forgotten items that give you insight into the personality of previous renters. Take some time to walk around your space and seek out the little signs of the past.
After you give your apartment a visual once-over for historical clues, you can dig into research to find out more. An easy way to get info is to ask your neighbors. Try a casual approach and inquire about the property when you see them by the mailbox. Start a conversation with “I really love living in this building. Do you know much about the history of the community and the people who lived here?” If they have a story to share, listen and then ask more questions about specific residents and your particular apartment.
Speaking of the mailbox, you'll get plenty of unintentional clues there. While opening someone else's mail is a crime, their names are on the outside of the envelopes. The previous resident will likely still have some mail coming in, so you know a name to look for. There will probably even be some addressed to further back residents. Go to Google or Facebook and start looking for people with that name who used to live in your city.
If you live in a historic building, you can find great answers at the local historical society, public library or city hall. There’s often interesting research about your apartment’s history in deeds of sale, photographs, census records, and city archives. It will take some digging and a bit of time, but uncovering the truth about your home can be rewarding. You can also venture out into the neighborhood and ask local business owners what they know about your apartment building. They may have old photos of the neighborhood. Think of it as a scavenger hunt, relishing every clue that will take you to the next piece of information.
If you ever wondered who has lived in your apartment before you, quit guessing: get out there or get online and ask questions! Follow the clues to peel away layers of history and put your own place in that apartment space in context.