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Illinois family finds preserved McDonald's food from over half a century ago in home's wall

An order of 63-year-old fries came along with the house just south of the Wisconsin state line.
Bags of McDonald's food found in a wall by a family renovating their home.
Bags of McDonald's food found in a wall by a family renovating their home.Rob and Grace Jones

A northern Illinois family who were renovating their home this month unearthed a bag of french fries that had apparently been sitting inside a wall for more than 60 years.

Rob and Grace Jones were fixing up their kitchen and bathroom on April 16 in Crystal Lake, which is about 50 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, when they made the fast-food discovery.

They were replacing a built-in toilet paper holder, requiring them to open a 4-by-6-inch section of the wall. That's when they spotted a towel inside the wall, wrapping up something that the young parents initially feared.

"We were expecting the worst. We were both like, 'Oh, my gosh, we're going to be unveiling a cold case here,'" Grace Jones, 31, said as she laughed Wednesday. "I was shielding my kids in case there was any dried blood."

Instead, what they found was a bag with two hamburger wrappers and a remarkably well-preserved order of fries.

"Not a cold case, just some cold fries," said Jones, the mother of children ages 2 and 5. "They were very well preserved."

Their ranch style house was built in 1959, and the Crystal Lake Historical Society has records of an early McDonald’s having opened a half-mile from the home the same year, the Chamber of Commerce said.

It was only a carry-out location, with burgers costing 15 cents, fries 10 cents and milkshakes 20 cents, town records showed.

The wrappers found by the Jones family had the 1950s McDonald’s mascot Speedee, who predated Ronald McDonald and emphasized the chain’s — at the time — revolutionary fast service.

Jones, who grew up in nearby Woodstock, said one of her mother’s most vivid childhood memories was going to the 1955 grand opening of the McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois. That's where Ray Kroc opened his first franchise of the California-rooted fast-food empire, which was started by Richard and Maurice McDonald.

The couple posted photos of the fast-food archeological find on social media accounts, and it has prompted them to learn more about their community’s history.

"It's been unreal. We didn't expect this to take off the way it has. We just thought it was it a cool find," said Jones, an early childhood special education teacher. "It's been awesome, it's been so fun, it's been neat, learning about the history of our neighborhood."

And no, the Jones family didn’t eat the aged fries.

The papers are now tucked away in a folder and the fries are in Tupperware, stored up high so their children can't get to them for a snack.