nancy drew secret room

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Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:29 pm
O.K. I found a secret room in my house. <br> <br>It is in one corner of the basement, and is a bricked off room corresponding to and exactly underneath my back utility porch. I'm hoping someone has seen something like this or can otherwise help me guess its purpose. Here are the facts: <br> <br>1. All the masonry appears original to the house (e.g. the bricked in room wasn't added later). There is no bricked in window or door either on the interior walls in the basement, or on the exterior of the house. (two of the rooms walls are exterior walls and two are interior in the basement) <br> <br>There is about 5 inches inbetween the floor joists and the top of the interior walls (that is, the floor joists touch the interior secret room walls, but between any two joists you can peek in). This allows us to peek in but not see the floor. One additional brick has been removed in one place to allow newer electrical wiring to run between the house and detached garage. This gives about 10 inches to peek in with a flashlight but we still can't see the floor. (I'm convinced there must be treasure, old stocks/bonds, hidden love letters or something on the floor ;-) ) <br> <br>Inside the room there is a circular brick structure that runs the entire height of the room, that must have been a well or other plumbing-related structure. There is a capped off pipe emerging from the interior secret room wall near where we see the "well". <br>The interior walls do not appear to be weight-bearing, except maybe one corner that lines up with brick columns that bear weight in the center of the large main basement room (basement is ~1500 sq ft.). (Of course, if I'm wrong and the walls are weight-bearing, then the room probably needs no further explanation.) <br> <br>What really confuses me is -- why they would brick off a room about 15' X 5' to enclose a well that is maybe 3 ft in diameter. And why they would have no access to the well (unless the access was from above through the floor of the utility porch). <br> <br>The utility porch is original to the house, as we can see it in a 1927 photo of our house. <br>Any ideas? <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:29 pm
The cistern idea is probably right, my <br>Grandparents' bungalow had a working <br>cistern that the new owners got rid of last <br>summer! (I can't imagine why) It worked with <br>an electric pump, and on the 20th of every <br>month Grandad would go to the basement <br>and throw a switch ( the basement shower <br>and washing machine had two sets of pipes) <br>and run washing for 10 days a month on the <br>cistern rather than city water. What I wouldn't <br>give for a system like it. Our cistern was long <br>ago filled with sand. <br> <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:29 pm
Have you putting a mirror on a stick and poking it thorough the space between the joists (sort of like a periscope)? <br> <br>On a more mundane note, the walls may just be there to serve as a foundation for the porch, a practice that I've seen on older, and some newer houses. The tank may be a cistern as suggested. <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:30 pm
&gt;Have you putting a mirror on a stick and poking it thorough the space between the joists (sort of like a periscope)? <br> <br>Yes, we tried a mirror on a stick, the kind that is used by auto mechanics to see into car innards. Just couldn't get enough light even from a high-intensity flashlight. <br> <br> <br>&gt;On a more mundane note, the walls may just be there to serve as a foundation for the porch, a practice that I've seen on older, and some newer houses. The tank may be a cistern as suggested. <br> <br> <br>True. The front porch has a basement room underneath it. I just don't understand why they'd totally brick this off instead of putting a door and making a storage room or whatever. <br>I don't know how to investigate the cistern hypothesis. Right now, rain water off the house goes into underground pipe systems and and from there into city storm drains that run under the street. On the side of house near the secret room, these have long since been encased in the cement of the driveway. <br> <br>When I find anything out, I'll report back! <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:30 pm
Maybe if you got a trouble light, one of those fixtures on the end of an extension cord with a metal cage around the bulb to protect it, and lowered it into the room through one of the other spaces between the joists. <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:30 pm
What the heck are you waiting for? I would be out there removing bricks until I could wiggle through the wall and check it out! Of course, I've been known to suffer from "If Walls Could Talk" delusions, imagining any number of cool treasures hidden in secret places (stair treads, newel posts, crawl spaces). So far we've found some old tax records and whole newspapers from as far back as 1917. Your secret room could be the jackpot! <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:31 pm
All I can think of is a cistern, used for storing rain/well water in the "old days" before city water.

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:31 pm
If it is a cistern you will probably find pipes from the rain gutter system leading into the ground. Our cistern has walls that do not reach the ceiling, they are about 6' tall. I suppose even a cistern would need access (stray rodents can be found anywhere). Interior space in ours is about 6' x 12', that would hold a lot of water. <br> <br>Eventually we rented a concrete saw and made a passage into the cistern. That was too much space for me to waste, and the pipes had already been filled with concrete so I decided that was one piece of nostalgia I could live without. <br> <br>Good luck findong what is is! <br> <br>

Posts: 5450
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2002 2:01 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2003 2:31 pm
And all I can think of is a horror movie plot. <br> <br>&gt;All I can think of is a cistern, used for storing rain/well water in the "old days" before city water. <br> <br> <br>

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