Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Secret Room...Revealed!


Does anyone remember that special by Geraldo where he opened Al Capone's safe on national TV and there was nothing in it? Well, I might have to refer to that show later.

First let me backtrack. We live in a house from 1895. That makes it 113 years old this year. There are a lot of things about this house that make it interesting. It's fun to look through each room and imagine the people that lived in it over a century ago. but there was a lot about this house I didn't know. So last summer when a lady knocked on my door saying she had grown up in this house and would I mind if she took some pictures, I was thrilled. Not only did I tell her that was OK, I begged her to come in and tell me everything she remembered about the house. And I found out a lot of cool stuff: this house used to be the mayoral house, the playroom was an attic when she lived here and didn't even have a door; you had to get in through a ladder that is where our master shower currently sits, the upstairs bathroom was her brother's bedroom, the master closet was her baby sister's nursury, and the crown molding in the two main living rooms used to be gold leaf instead of painted white. But the two things about this house that were most intriguing were 1) that there was a secret room under the dining room floor where the previous owners used to hide polygamist wives and 2) that there was an entrance to a root cellar in our back yard that went underneath our closet and master bathroom and that might contain hidden treasures from the original owners. Unfortunately, we buried the door to the root cellar by accident. When we moved in, there was a big 6' square depression in the soil about 12" deep behind our closet in the back yard. We thought there might have been a hot tub or something there at one point. So we had it filled in with top soil and planted sod on it. Well, that was where the entrance to the root cellar was. Oops! It was tempting to call over a back hoe right then and there to dig it up. But Kelly poo-poo'ed the idea. So that left me with the secret room under the dining room. This one seemed slightly more accessible. Again Kelly poo-poo'ed the idea of immediately pulling up the carpet to find the secret room. Kill-Joy. But he promised that if we ever replaced the carpet, we could pull it up and uncover the secret room. For now we could at least confirm the likelyhood of its existance because when you walked over the carpet in that area, you could feel a slight depression with edges and hear the boards sqeak.

Well, the day I had anticipated since last summer finally arrived yesterday. Our carpet guy was scheduled to arrive in the morning, so we decided to pull up the carpet and check out the secret room. I should point out that after some historical research, I did at least ascertain that it was very unlikely that polygamists were ever hidden there. That's a common rumor in Utah about root cellars and such. That and that they were used to hide booze during prohibition. But I still wanted to see it. I thought if nothing else we could use it for storage. So Kelly and I got all ready to pull up the carpet. I got my video camera out, we did a search for flashlights and discovered that not one of the 5 flashlights in our house worked, we got a floor lamp hooked up to an extention cord instead, and we began pulling up the carpet and padding. I had my camera poised and ready to capture the historic moment. I could see it in my head: Kelly would unscrew the trap door, open it, and down below would be a huge vault-like room, 6 feet deep and 15 feet square. It would have old hats, pictures, and candlesticks from the 1900's in it. Maybe even a few rare coins. Our footage would be huge on YouTube and then If These Walls Could Talk from HGTV would do an episode on it. It would be great. Now here is where that Geraldo show comes back into play. As Kelly opened the trap door, there was.....just an ordinary crawl space down there! 3 feet deep, dirt and rocks on the bottom, no treasures, and not even tall enough to stand up in. Poo! POOPOO! I turned the camera off and stuck my head down the hole to see what was down there. Hmmmm...a bunch of wires, cords, and an old porcelain fuse was all I saw. I did note that there was no foundation to my house. There were boards cemented onto small boulders. And the exterior walls were made of the same big rocks and boulders. But that was about it. LAME! All that anticipation for nothing.

Well, there's still the root cellar to dig up and uncover. I'm starting in June. Who wants to help??

7 comments:

Koreena said...

How disappointing after waiting all this time to see what's down there! At least you know now.

Christie said...

Oh - that is so exciting. I just love old houses and history. I'm sorry that you didn't find the treasure you were looking for, but it still sounds like a fun adventure.

Kristine said...

Still kind of exciting to finally see down there I bet! I was excited reading your post ;) Can't wait til June now! I'll come help!

Chelsea said...

I love old houses! How fun that you got to explore, even though the results weren't as spectacular as you had hoped. I grew up in an old house (part log cabin from the late 1700's) and I would love to live in one again.

Julie said...

Aw man! I was so excited reading your post. I remember when you told us about that room. I got the creeps hehe..I was sitting right near it. That stinks there wasn't any treasures down there but at least you know now. I can't wait to hear what happens in June. Wish I could be there to help!

Tiburon said...

That bites! I was so hoping that you would find all kinds of cool stuff down there!

alex dumas said...

Disappointing. But now you know where to toss the dead bodies.

I'll have to keep reading to find out what went down with the root cellar.