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Crystal Lake couple’s story goes viral after discovering McDonald’s fries, wrappers inside their wall

Rob and Grace Jones show off the remains of a 60-year-old McDonald's meal they discovered inside the walls of their home while renovating on April 19, 2022.

Can the good time and great taste of McDonald’s survive 60 years inside the walls of a suburban home?

Last week, Crystal Lake’s Rob Jones found out by accident.

Jones said he was renovating his home bathroom when, after pulling out the toilet paper holder, he noticed something inside the wall.

“As I was pulling the holder out, I can feel there’s something in there,” Jones said. “I was nervous to open it up. You see stories of much worse things people can find in their walls. My wife and I like true crime stories.”

The couple was relieved and delighted to find that it was just a bag, old wrappers and leftover fries from an old McDonald’s meal. Jones described the discovery, especially the fries, as “neat.”

Jones speculated that the meal was probably from construction workers; the house was built in 1959, Jones said – the same year that a McDonald’s franchise opened in Crystal Lake at Virginia Street and Lake Shore Drive, less than a mile from where they live. At that time, according to Crystal Lake Herald archives, the price of a hamburger was 15 cents.

The Crystal Lake McDonald's as it appeared in 1961; the location first opened on May 19, 1959 along Virginia Street. A Crystal Lake resident, Rob Jones, found a McDonald's wrapper in his walls on April 19, 2022, that he speculated came from that restaurant roughly 60 years ago, as the house was constructed in 1959.

Jones posted his discovery on Reddit. The morning after, Jones said, he was contacted via that website by a Newsweek reporter.

“It’s been crazy how quickly this spread,” Jones said of the media coverage. “It’s definitely weird. I just threw the story on Reddit while scrolling through there before I went to bed.”

Jones said that since that first interview, he has been contacted by TV reporters and other national news outlets.

“I never thought I’d make it to television,” Jones said. “I’m glad it’s only for this.”

The story has even been picked up by some international publications; Jones said his favorite headline so far was from the UK Daily Star, which referred to him as a “bloke.”

Jones joked that nobody ever had shown interest in garbage he’d discovered.

The remains of a McDonald's meal that is at least 60 years old, found inside the walls of the home of Rob and Grace Jones of Crystal Lake on April 19, 2022, while they were renovating their bathroom.

Both Jones and his wife are from McHenry County, and Jones’ wife, Grace, said that her mother was at the grand opening of the first McDonald’s east of the Mississippi, which opened in 1955 in Des Plaines.

“We live in a pretty mature neighborhood,” Grace said, “so the folks that we’ve shown it to are people who actually remember eating at McDonald’s during that time period. It was nice to hear their stories; [it was] a really touching experience listening to different accounts of visiting the restaurant.”

At the moment, the couple is keeping the packaging and burger wrappers in a folder, and the decades-old fries are being kept in a container while they figure out what to do with them.

The fries are still intact, although they’re hard and dried out, Jones said.

“How do they last that long?” Jones said about the fries, adding that they smelled like “old must.”

While the couple has explored selling the items or giving them to McDonald’s as a kind of artifact, they have yet to hear any “serious offers,” Jones said.

The couple has yet to hear from the McDonald’s Corp. about the discovery.

When asked what he’s learned from the experience, Jones said he has an important lesson for home renovators.

“Check your walls,” Jones said. “You never know what’s in there.”