What IS This? REVEALED!
Brad mentioned that they had the original drawings. This information made me salivate, and I looked at Brad with pleading eyes and said: “Please, sir, can I see the drawings? Please? Please?”
And then two hours vanished in a flash as Susan and Brad and I, like kids let loose in a candy store, poured over the drawings spread across the dining table, while running from room to room and from floor to floor trying to make sense of What Was and What Is.
Fewer things bring me more joy.
Which brings me to back to a post I did recently about a strange tiny door in the house:
Brad said he was told the door was to the “dust chute”. So, one would sweep, and then push the debris down the chute and into the basement. I had never seen such a feature and was slightly skeptical. But what else could it have been? There was no threshold, meaning that dust and debris could have been easily swept into the chute.
Well, y’all got into a furious debate about this! And my friend, Carl, who owns a huge old house in Wichita, sent me this image:
We discovered that while the elevator shaft on the first, second, and third floor has all been repurposed, the shaft is extant on the basement level behind the bricked-up opening. I had an overwhelming desire to tear out the brick STAT but, luckily, I managed to contain myself with the mantra: This ain’t my house. This ain’t my house. This ain’t my house.
Really, I should get an award for self-restraint.
Even though the elevator shaft has been repurposed on three levels, this could all be reversed without significant impact on the house. I also cannot help but think: Is the elevator cab entombed behind the bricked-up basement opening????????
It appears that the dust chute is intact, and could be used as such again. As could the clothes chute which, curiously, never opened to the second floor. And, as with the bricked-up elevator opening, I cannot help but wonder: WHAT is behind the bricked-up laundry opening????????
In going through all the drawings it was a revelation at how many changes have ensued over the decades. For example, the original kitchen and butler’s pantry were gutted in 1965 and transformed into a suite with a bedroom and bathroom (the kitchen was moved into the basement). This was later undone and the whole area in now an expansive kitchen. We also discovered stunning, and previously unknown, alterations to the main stair, as well as numerous fascinating changes over the years.
I am lucky in that my big old house is all pulled apart. So, making a mess inside is not a particularly onerous thing. But Susan and Brad are running a guest house so creating HUGE dust clouds is so not a desirable option right now. However, if they ever leave town and ask me to house sit?
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