Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 11:38AM
The handle to the vehwee vehwee scawee basement. Which I don't think is scary. But some people might.
I think it's fascinating.
We have a 110 year old bluestone basement. Complete with tunnels and secret trap doors. It's a Hardy Boys mystery waiting to happen.
Except the Hardy Boys didn't have compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
This old building has had seven fires, none of them severe enough to burn the place down. But down in the basement, you can see some of the floor joists that are charred. Rather than demo the floor, they just added new joists right next to the burned ones.
My seven year old thinks he's a miner and archaeologist rolled into one, and is constantly on the lookout for fossils in the basement. I don't have the heart to tell him that he's unlikely to dig up any dinosaur bones -- it keeps him too occupied. I need the leverage. When he's being pesky I can say, Hey, you know what I REALLY need? I need someone to investigate whether there are any fossils in the basement.
This system of pipes and bells and whistles is what's making sure we have adequate hot water. Today is the first day we're testing the capacity of the system -- we'll see how it performs.
IS ALL WELL? DUCK YOUR.
That's what someone took the time to write on the wall. There are at least three hand lettered "duck" signs that I've found so far. Which is helpful. As a tall person, I have no awareness of the location of my head, and it's helpful for me to see in writing exactly when I might need to lean forward.
When I said tunnels, I really meant tunnels.
I could probably crawl back there and pop up into someone else's store, if I were so inclined. Which I'm not.
Like many old buildings, this one is full of idiosyncratic things like windows that look into... nothing. And doors that don't... close.
If I wanted to film another installment of the Blair Witch Project, I'm sure the movie could open with this shot.
Here's why I think the basement is cool.
This is a coal chute. There are three of them down here, and they're underneath what is now a brick sidewalk. When this building still used coal heat, the delivery trucks would pull up to these chutes and shovel it down into the basement. Now they're all rusty. But I like that they're here.
And now, when someone writes the history of this building, we'll be a part of it. I like that too.