Thread Number: 72035  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
The Secret Rooms at School (& maybe other places) I want to discuss!
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Post# 952699   8/13/2017 at 00:44 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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In Particular, the elementary school that I'd attended Pre-K Nursry School-to-Second Grade, to returning there for Forth Grade after attending another school for Third (of which something startling occurred that you'll soon, here, read about) before going to another school for Fifth, then followed by Middle School/ Jr. High, Senior High, of which this sort of thing somehow diminished:

The boiler room that there were large panes of glass that provided endless viewing inside at recess... It also housed an incinerator that I loved watching the janitor throwing the garbage burning up into... There was a pipe with a shower head hanging on the outside wall probably with that incinerator behind it that vibrated & sounded like a jackhammer continuously there, too...

In the hallway, on one side of the back of the gymnasium, a door marked Fan Room, that I'd seen opened once or twice, and caught a to this day memorable glimpse of the big machinery and a catwalk that a short set of stairs led up to the left of all that along side of, while at the front I think was a rotating belt or something of sort that I don't remember exact description of entirely (there would have to be a guard of some sort around it, too) that greets you as you enter on that elevated surface there...

There was also a nondescript pink door that had a louvered vent on the wall right outside of it view-able from an outside window next to that door, located in the hallway behind the library that I'd seen opened then quickly closed only once (yes, all these doors have door-closers and did I tell you that they all were LOCKED?!) and remember the series of florescent lights, similar to the ones in the classrooms however many rows are required in that space, that I saw quickly turned off & the after-glow of those tubes, giving out a faint green, all in that dark...

There were also Storage Rooms, Storage Rooms, and MORE Storage Rooms (all labeled Storage Room--well, maybe Store Room) housing everything from Paper & Misc. Classroom supplies to crates of Towne Club pop--my former Kindergarten teacher with a bottle of Pineapple that she & the janitor drew out of there for her, holding his two-fistfuls of BEST (Unlawful to Duplicate) keys, he'd let themselves briefly in for...

Also janitor closets here and there to clean/service the classrooms, and in a few classrooms, a trap door, opened at least once & ever so cautious not to fall into--hopefully with a ladder down there to get someone quickly out--that usually had a heavy hunk o' furniture like a desk, cabinet or shelving unit directly over, letting a view of various opening-portions of exposed, but not without moving that stuff on it, easily opened...

The janitor's office itself--and the teacher's lounge (I went into to use the pop machine for a teach) also sources of curiosity...

Lastly the unused wing of the school I saw a couple maintenance gents one with the key to the padlock on the boards ready to unlock & open the door fashioned for "only THEIR" access (they may have been the freelance administration, when as needed, routinely going to each building in our school district, but headquartered, who knows where? when not making their rounds) to a preschool teacher actually having a key to that area and letting a couple of her four-to-five-year-olds accompany her to "enjoying that SACRED privilege"--that my disturbing view of (Oh, that JEALOUSY!) caused me a very bad day in class that my teacher in "psychiatrist's couch" fashion of led me RIGHT OVER TO THAT BOARDED UP AREA IN THAT WING to have a talk with me over what was eating me!

At least my daughter's school put pictures of (actual photographs) one photo each that gives a very detailed shot of everything in the rooms at HER school; can't derail anybody's educational process there as it somewhat seemed to, mine, now, can we?!

Side note: The Kelvinator cooler used for milk, of which the nameplate I sneaked into the middle school cafeteria when it was empty & smuggled in my screwdriver & needle-nose pliers to pry that all metal 'Product of American Motors' label off of, & put all in my pocket to transfer to my school bag, then make my first of three fake air conditioners out of (another came from a compact refrigerator and still another from a real air conditioner that I think were from walks through an alley behind the neighborhood stores)... Oh, and the elementary schools had Norcolds that the top & front of flipped open for that purpose as well...


-- Dave





Post# 952702 , Reply# 1   8/13/2017 at 04:37 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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My elementary school (K-8) was built in the '20s (my grandmother remembered it being there) with tall 12 foot ceilings and hardwood floors.  I had to go down the basement to summon the janitor once for a kid who had upchucked on the classroom floor.  He was kicked back in an old recliner reading a book smoking his pipe all cozy right beside the boiler.  I remember seeing the fire through the air intakes.  This was around first grade.  At some point I know they replaced that old boiler because I could see where the concrete blocks had been removed and replaced in order to get that behemoth out and a new one in.  At the end of my seventh or eighth grade year we had to go to that same basement to move some boxes of old books out...they were stored in what was once the coal bin because there was still some small pieces of coal left on the floor. 

 

The old gym in that same school had two staircases going down on either side of the stage to bathrooms that were used as dressing rooms at some point.  During ballgames those bathrooms were used.  But there was this other door in there that was blocked off.  In 1985 a brand new school was built closer to the high school....and we had to go down into those old bathrooms and behind those blocked off rooms....turns out they were old shower rooms!  I can still smell that old musty smell. 

 

That same old schoolhouse had an upstairs too.  From the outside it had two shed dormers with about 4 windows each, maybe more.  I'd have to look at my old pictures to see for sure.  I always tried to find the way up there but never saw any stairs or such.  The roof was so steep I'm sure there was quite a bit of room up there.

 

The high school had these two metal louvered doors going into the basement under the cafeteria where I'm sure the boilers were located.  I always wanted to see in that room but never got the chance.


Post# 952707 , Reply# 2   8/13/2017 at 06:25 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

The boiler room I remember was in the new Stevens High School in Rapid City,South Dakota.In the hall where the room was-there was the giant glass windows where you could see the boilers and other mechanical equipment-including the incinerator.Since I was in shop class-was able to use the incinerator-the building engineer-boiler guy-showed me how to use it.Dumping large amounts of sawdust and paper waste-the shop was responsible for the decorations for proms and other events.When the event was over--the giant piles of the waste went into the incinerator.With either the sawdust or paper you had to look in the burn chamber window-if a flame was apparent you had to wait until it burnt down before dumping the waste in-otherwise it could flare into your face.And the boiler room was for at the time if guys got into a fight-the boiler room was where it would be finished off.The fan-blower ,pump rooms in schools were sort of like what we have at work.And of course each transmitter has its own blower room.I can go into the ones at work freely-but CAREFUL while the fan is running-it can suck you against the guard grate almost like the intake of a jet engine!15,20 hp blowers here.

Post# 952724 , Reply# 3   8/13/2017 at 09:47 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
"Needed to talk w/ HER over what was eaten' me"-

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Oh, I'm bad with TOOLS! It was a small BOLT CUTTER that I used on the bolts that secured the Kelvy label on the cooler...

Thought a discarded General Electric Americana Side X Side fridge at the hospital I worked at years later (it was from an outbuilding used by it, in a lounge) needed the removal of its GENERAL ELECTRIC nameplate in that brutal manner, but I think the brittle plastic over the thin metal beneath it that I'd cracked & crumbled only needed a gentle movement w/ the screwdriver... Well, I saved the Temperature control w/ the thumbwheel & knob for the fridge & freezer portions, respectively...

The janitor's office at that one school had black iron bars like a jail (maybe i=for bad students it once WAS) over a dug out where some equipment was stored & I am trying to picture where there I saw the BILLY GOAT lawn sweeper... That was either there or the little I'd seen of those areas of the two elementary schools I'd gone to for 3rd and 5th; and the one I'd gone to a nursery school at before that particular one, in which the less I'd been exposed to at that tender age the better...

Well, BILLY GOAT followed me to Middle School: working for the school library I took a broken TV on a raised cart w/ casters (and another broken one I think on a shelf below it on the same cart) to the janitor's office--two wooden double doors w/ windows and a doorknob that DIDN'T work when I turned it, without a humongous effort--and across the small hallway was where the janitor & assistant led me to, to dispose the non-working audio-visual equipment, behind another set of wooden (maybe metal) double doors, without windows, that the GOAT was in, as well as the familiar sight of bags of SWEEPING COMPOUND that I had seen numerous times at the many schools... --Plus loads of other mostly floor scabbing/maintenance equipment...

Well, there was at the school I'd attended 5th grade a small pantry behind the kitchen area--besides a Frigidaire single-door fridge in there, (and I think something right in that kitchen for refrigeration more nearby) (circa. 1959, seen in an ad of mostly Frigidaire built-in ranges & ovens) wonder what was there... There was a set of wooden doors opened ajar housing discarded a Frigidaire range, a 30" version that the kitchen had a working model of, that was a 40" at that other school I'd chronicled, w/ another single door Frigidaire...

Getting back to BOILERS, the Kawalek was a very common piece of equipment seen in that school I'd attended in grade-5 & the Blues Brothers movie even had one (where Cab Calloway resided at the orphanage that that last elementary school was very much like & for that reason it was cool to go there) & surely the elementary school before that (& possibly the one I'd gone to in 3rd grade, that I have not as fond memories of or more than vague & vivid in that subject matter) might have also employed--didn't see much there...


-- Dave






Post# 952752 , Reply# 4   8/13/2017 at 13:42 by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

I remember the junior high building. Most of it was newer but two of the classroom buildings and the gym were older from the 40s.

The classroom buildings were brick with flat roofs and were rows of classrooms with the covered walkway outside. Each room had rows of windows on the exterior with old steam radiators underneath. I remember I had one class in that building and once I got brave and opened the door between it and the room next door. It looked like it had been a science lab that hadn't been used in years. I reached for the light switch and instead must have turned on an exhaust fan which made a horrible grinding sound, which startled me so I switched it right back off and closed the door.

In the newer part of the school - I can remember once seeing inside a storage room in the auditorium which was usually never gone in but we put soda bottles in there for the end of school dance.

The gym was an interesting old building as well and had a basement (in Florida) where the locker rooms and a classroom were. There was also a loft in the gym with a balcony that overlooked the court, that area was always blocked off and looked like there was a storage room up there. Above it was a big fan that ventilated the gym and drew air in through the propped open windows that were painted over at some point.

The high school, never saw many secret rooms there, although once I saw a set of double doors that was always closed (didn't even have handles or knobs on them) open and saw a Kenmore washer/dryer set in there.

A couple of times I got a chance to go into the school kitchen which was a treat. I always wanted to see in the rooms that were marked "dry storage" but never did, and always wondered what cooking equipment was on the other side of that half wall under the exhaust hood. I did get to see back there once but I was rather nervous as I was supposed to be looking for the manager and not wandering around the kitchen. There was another room off the back that I could just see with a washer and dryer as well, but never got to go in there either.

More recently I got to go into the kitchen at a junior high, not mine, but one just like it. The manager took me in the storage rooms and walk in cooler as well, a very interesting experience to see behind the scenes.


Post# 952757 , Reply# 5   8/13/2017 at 14:00 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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None of the schools I attended were old enough to have interesting secret rooms. (Oldest school was built probably 1950-something, and the other two were built in the 60s.) There were areas where students weren't allowed, of course, like the boiler room of my elementary school...but the room wasn't any big secret. And one could see a good chunk of it through the door, which was usually open.

 

The closest thing I know of to any sort of mysterious secret was at my junior high. There was a basement area in one building that was used for storage when I was there. Years later, though, apparently there was a rumor floating about the school that that area held a swimming pool that was closed down at some point. I'm pretty sure that was just urban legend--the high schools (one of which was probably build right about the time that jr. high building was built) didn't have pools, and high schools are generally the schools that will get a pool first.


Post# 952758 , Reply# 6   8/13/2017 at 14:03 by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I wonder, though, if the high school my mother attended didn't have mysterious spaces... It was old (early 20th century), and I think saw lots of changes over the years... I remember seeing that school the last time in the 1990s. I don't remember any secret rooms. But the mention of an old shower room earlier in this thread reminded me of a small dressing/shower room that I saw in that school. It was mostly unused, I gathered--at some point, a new gym (with new locker rooms) had been built.


Post# 952765 , Reply# 7   8/13/2017 at 14:25 by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Scary Fan

About the only thing remotely mysterious about my high school (built in 1931) was an old dirt floored indoor running track under the auditorium no one had used in decades. We didn't even have a boiler room as we got our steam from the Jr High's boiler room next door (built in 1923). BUT, the scariest basement I ever saw was in the Army at Fort Leonard Wood. There was a huge fan intake outside the barracks building below ground level, and I didn't think much about it, until I saw inside the basement. There was a squirrel cage fan down there big enough to drive a VW thru the center of it. I didn't know you could build a squirrel cage blower that big. And, no shroud or screen of any kind. You definitely didn't want to be down there when it kicked on. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it now.

Post# 952779 , Reply# 8   8/13/2017 at 17:23 by philcobendixduo (San Jose)        
Central Vacuums in Old Schools?

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My dad told me LONG ago that the school he attended in Rochester NY had a central vacuum and the chalkboard erasers were cleaned by holding them to the inlet on the wall. This would have been in the 1930's and 1940's. Anyone ever heard of (or seen) an OLD school with a central vacuum system?

When I was in elementary school (1960's), our school had an eraser cleaning machine located backstage in the auditorium. I often volunteered to clean the erasers. The machine was switched on and the erasers held up to the "nozzle" which had a rotating brush. Chalk dust was dislodged from the eraser and sucked up the nozzle into a small bag not unlike one on an upright bagged vacuum.

Fascinating!


Post# 952799 , Reply# 9   8/13/2017 at 20:36 by ptcruiser51 (Boynton Beach, FL)        
Not to be critical, but....

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When did you find time for "EDUCATION"? The nuns at my school would have you being punished if you wee found in anyplace clandestine! I had to stay after school once because I was caught walking back to class after Sister asked me to get a fresh box of chalk for the blackboard...

Post# 952808 , Reply# 10   8/13/2017 at 22:41 by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

The high school I went to wasn't a single building; it was a small campus of several buildings. The main classroom building had been built in stages between about 1920 and 1930, and both the floor plan and the systems had been revised numerous times since then. It was bit like the Winchester mansion, with a bunch of dead-end hallways, doors that opened to blank walls, stairways to nowhere, etc. Rumor had it that there was at least one room that was completely inaccessible because all of the doors to it had been walled off. The lights for some rooms were controlled by switches in other rooms, and the plumbing was a complete mystery. One room on the ground floor was festooned with pipes and valves that seemed to be part of the fire sprinkler system, which everyone was afraid to touch because no one knew if any of it worked or not; it was never tested. One day, someone got daring and turned a valve. A water gong somewhere started ringing, and water cascaded down the outside wall from the roof.

They built a new classroom building in 1977. Over the summer, they had to move out of the old one, and a certain amount of exploration and archaeology was done at that time. Someone hacked through a wall at the top of one of the stairways to nowhere, and found an opening to an abandoned office. It had a door that opened into the library, behind some shelves. As it turned out, this access was shorter than the main access to the library, and they wound up using it to move all of the books to the new building.

I can't begin to describe how scroungy and patched together the wiring was. To this day, I'm stunned that that building never burned down.



Post# 952815 , Reply# 11   8/14/2017 at 00:09 by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

The first elementary school I went to was built in the 1930s, had three stories plus basement. I never thought it was too mysterious but it was a big building and formerly the towns high school so it was set up more like one. I never got to see the boiler room or even knew where it was but there were a number of classrooms in the basement that were used for storage. Part of the building was a wing added on in the 1950s and had a central heating/cooling plant with a pneumatic control system I was always fascinated by. I imagine the original building had radiators but they were long gone and replaced by some kind of PTAC type units in each classroom like most schools in my area have.

The other place I found fascinating had a basement stairwell right off the main entrance that was wide open, but "forbidden". My mom was a room mom there and had to go down there for something (I of course went with) and I discovered there were some air handlers and some pretty large ductwork down there, very odd to me as all the diffusers in that place were in the ceiling. The room was small, obviously not the entire size of the school so I looked around for doorways hoping there would be more to the basement and saw a doorway in a dark corner and was curious to check it out but alas was afraid to for whatever reason. To this very day I still wonder if it was just some random doorway to nowhere or if it led to a whole secret basement in the school with a treasure trove of pipes and ductwork leading up to air handlers and a huge boiler.
I will never know because that school, built in 1952 was torn down the next year to make way for a new school.


Post# 952822 , Reply# 12   8/14/2017 at 00:44 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

There is a HUGE Sqirrel cage blower in the attic of the Wash DC VOA site-the thing was used to ventilate the buildings cafeteria.It had a two speed Crocker Wheel induction motor-just remember the HP-10Hp low-25 Hp high.The inlets were connected to air ducts-the outlet discharged through the building roof.One time it started-sounded like an airplane taking off!There are blowers in the transmitter buiding one about 8 foot high-vent fan for the cEMCO transmitters-its driven by a 5Hp motor.Another fan for the building HVAC is run from a 15Hp motor.The GE transmitter blowrs are about 6 ft tall intake about 3 ft.this runs from 15Hp.Another airplane motor sound when started.This is the one that can suck you against the air intake if you are not careful when enterting the blower room.Each transmitter has its blower room.The suction of the blower running in any of them makes opening the door difficult-and hold the door TIGHT while closing-make sure your hands or feet aren't in the way-the door will try to slam shut from the suction of the blower!

Post# 952831 , Reply# 13   8/14/2017 at 02:57 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Oh, the typos in my one or both initial posts... Kawalek was at the elementary school I'd attended (& at this point overstated) for the grades except for 3rd & 5th, 3rd I might not have been exposed to the clandestine areas of, or that's where the teaching I'd gotten for what I'd gone to school for actually worked! (Just for 5th, etc. to be where I'd made myself more clear)

Middle school had the gymnasium & I had myself written out of Phys. Ed. for my 8th grade on... The pool, then, was high school, that also other than swimming lessons between 1st & 2nd & maybe an evening aquatics show, I had attended, (maybe a neighbor going there awam in) had not been to/in--but surely a source of enjoyment for the operations... There was a vintage high schoool yearbook, from a former neighbor, my mom somehow got from that made its way to our basement in the house I grew up... A photo showing a washer w/ a laundress (w/ quite the "goony" look o hr face) was featured; and such a thing since there were showers & towels and a gym was probably also featured at the middle school, too...

And moreover of that the city pool at the park where I'd gone to years earlier for summer camp found me peeking, gawking & endlessly staring into--asking: "What are they doing in there?" "They're doing YOU!" said one of my fellow campers, while a counselor in the probably futile manner to get me better adjusted stated "It's to CLEAN the pool!" right down to me drawing a picture of that room in arts & crafts reversing the trade name on a huge paper sack I saw a man tear open & load into a chamber labeled Sun Democates Earth--me bearing my own Earth Democates Sun (& the rays around the name--even thinking "it's that SUN stuff" used to de-mark a playing field for sports--boy was I obsessed!)

Well, an overnight camp had a '70's Hotpoint dryer tucked away in the alcove behind the nature center in some closet, quite a distance away from what seemed to be a dark blue or some other dark colored washer in a room behind the mess hall, I don't know the name of--'cause IT WAS FORBIDDEN TO GO IN THAT ROOM!

Last of all, the high school custodian's office--with a wooden sign over the door, stating in addition to 'the warning not to enter', THIS MEANS YOU! --w/ the exclamation mark & all...




-- Dave


Post# 952917 , Reply# 14   8/14/2017 at 18:14 by DaveTranter (Central England)        
Secret rooms etc. at my old school

Where to start??
The school was built on a 'double quadrangle' (figure 8) pattern in the 1920s. The hall and admin area formed the middle bar of the '8' while the classrooms and workshops were arranged on two floors around the 'quads', the corridors being covered from (most) rain, but open at the side to the elements, so driving rain and/or snow tended to get you wet as you stood shivering outside the classrooms in January. Stepping onto the grass in the 'quads' was strictly forbidden to all students.
Ok, that's the background, now for the 'off limits' places......
The boiler room (under part of the North Quadrangle and the stage end of the hall) was positively labyrinthine, I only entered it once, when an upperclassman, taking some old chairs down there, presumably to be broken up and burnt in the boiler furnace. There was a room under the stage in the hall which, when I was at the school, no-one could remember seeing opened. There was (and still is!) a fine pipe organ in the choir loft at the other end of the hall, a space which was only ever accessed for the organ: by the time I got to the school the choir sat with everyone else. I doubt that anyone goes up there now... When I attended the school, several of the masters were competent Organists, one or two students, too. I would not imagine that anyone there could play now. :-(

There were various storerooms behind some of the classrooms, workshops, and laboratories, all of which were 'off limits', but probably the most fascinating spaces were the lofts, the entrances to which were situated above the stairwells but were so inaccessible without a ladder that they didn't even have doors fitted! They were just mysterious black rectangles high above the stairs. The main roof had an open cupola in the middle which must have given quite a good view over the surrounding suburbia, and there was a persistent legend in the school that someone had once managed to get up there and fasten a school tie to one of the supporting columns, but no-one knew exactly who or when.

Hope some of that may be of interest to some of you!

All best

Dave T


Post# 952922 , Reply# 15   8/14/2017 at 19:00 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

The school I attended from K - 3 was built in 1952. No secret rooms, but I do remember that right inside the storage room (for paper, crayons, etc.) there was another door on one side. This led to stairs that went down to the basement. I remember the basement having rows of round concrete columns that flared out at the top. One section had big fans and the boiler. Another area was for storage of old desks, chairs, tables and such. I also remember seeing in one room there were several large electrical panels. This basement was where we went for the air-raid drills, which was in the early 60's, or for a bad storm. Most of this building was torn down for the new school in 2002. I'm not sure about the basement, but I don't remember any large hole when demolition was in progress, so they may have built over it.

For grades 4 -6, I was in an old building. One section was built in 1882, but the major portion was from 1906. All restrooms were in the basement of the 1906 part, and not an enjoyable visit. An odd thing about them was that the restroom floors were about 3' higher than the rest of the basement level. This was due to the sewer line in the street being higher than the basement floor. The restrooms were very scary looking, with all sorts of pipes running every which way. Down the hall was a couple classrooms - one for band, the other special-ed. The rest was storage or unused. That building was demolished at the end of 6th grade.

The Jr. High and High school was built in '66, and all on one floor. There was a storage room between the cafeterias of each, that could be used as a passageway for special events. Also several connecting rooms associated with the office that accessed the side hall and typing room. A new HS was built in 2002, and the old one is now grades 6 -9.


Post# 953009 , Reply# 16   8/15/2017 at 12:11 by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Airplane Sound

Rex, I remember that sound when the blower started up. As I remember, the sign on the wall over the starter button said to push and hold for 20 seconds so it would get enough current going to get up to full speed.

Post# 953015 , Reply# 17   8/15/2017 at 13:50 by DaveTranter (Central England)        
Central Vac

Oops!! Forgot to mention for the Vacuum fans..... There was a BVC central vac in the school, the 'business end' of which was also in that labyrinthine boiler room/basement, presumably original equipment from the 1920s. I can also supply a basic spec for the Organ, if anyone is interested.

All best

Dave T


Post# 953021 , Reply# 18   8/15/2017 at 14:21 by rpms (ontario canada)        

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My public grade school did not have many secret rooms.
There was a small room off the stage that held spots equipment and the doors opened under the stage and long racks were pulled out full of stacking chairs.
The only room of interest was the tiny janitor's room opposite the boy's bathroom.
Dennis,was the janitor and a very good one. The school was spotless.
If you left your inside shoes on the floor and not put them on the seat of your desk they would go missing.
Dennis,had a pet peeve about moving shoes when he swept.
He would take your shoes and toss them into a wringer washer in the janitor's room.
If your shoes were missing in the morning you had to go see Dennis.
I remember it being kinda frightening. It was a creepy, dark room with no windows and it smelled weird. You had to line up and then reach into the washer to get your shoes.
About once a month Dennis would fire up the wringer to wash mats and the mop heads.
It was always exciting to be on a bathroom break, alone and hear the washer groaning and churning as you got close to the bathroom.
Dennis hung his laundry out on the side of the school and we were not allowed to go on that side during recess.


Post# 953051 , Reply# 19   8/16/2017 at 02:45 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Dave-I would be interested in the specs of the organ.
KD12-we don't have to hold switches down to start blowers-pumps herethey are started by contactors.


Post# 953119 , Reply# 20   8/16/2017 at 16:35 by man114 (Buffalo)        

The Elementary school in our town was built in 1939 (it was formerly a high school and middle school), it has two main floors however there is a 3rd floor, it's not sectioned off you can walk right up the main staircase to get to it. The thing is no one ever goes up there. It's just janitorial storage but it always seems strange that you never see anyone gomup there. The other thing that I don't think anyone has seen the fallout shelter in ages.

Post# 953134 , Reply# 21   8/16/2017 at 18:03 by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        
In a department store

Pogue's was one of Cincinnati's classiest stores, founded in the 1860's and closing over a century later in 1987. The downtown store was located in at least six separate buildings; three or four of these dated from the mid-late 1800's, one (the largest) from 1916, and two from 1930 (one that is part of the Carew Tower, the other a service building connecting the 1916 area to it).

In the Spring of 1988, a liquidation sale was held to clear out the store fixtures, and in the areas due for demolition, parts of the building such as doors, light fixture, elevators, etc. I was going to school downtown at that time, so would run over there fairly often. Sale customers could go anywhere in the complex, from the sub-basements to the top floors - the highest being the 9th.

What I most remember was how different that areas not on the public selling floor were from what the store customers saw. Since the buildings had windows, there were false walls about 4' out from the exterior walls, creating a passageway that in many cases joined the stockrooms. There were cracked windows, peeling paint, missing plaster and wires hanging down in there. There were old steam radiators in there in some areas. Some of the stockrooms had old glass schoolhouse lights that hung on chains.

I went up one stairwell, and through a door into a hallway. I opened a door leading into a room that had been an office - part of the tile ceiling had sagged down so far in one area that it was being held up by a couple desks. There were typewriters on the desks; some with paper in them. One had an unfinished letter dated 1964! Pen & pencils and other office supplies in drawers. The place just abandoned that day in 1964 for some reason - like the world had come to an end.

Another day I went up to the 9th floor of the 1930 service building, and into an area that had been the electrical maintenance dept. Just like the office mentioned above, it too had been abandoned abruptly in 1962. All sorts of electrical items on shelves, some of them much older than the 60's. I bought a lot that day, including old trade magazines, and a 1939 Westinghouse catalog. For unknown reasons, that department had been relocated to the basement.

I also visited the basement, sub-basement, and in one part the sub-sub-basement. These were storage, display workrooms, and maintenance depts. A couple areas of the basements were electrical rooms, full of large circuit breaker and fuse panels. One was so old it was fenced in due to having exposed live parts - that was in the 1916 bldg., and was still in use. In the sub-sub I found some of the boilers and chillers, along with several big pumps. An area next to this had one of the diesel emergency gen-sets (they had more than one).

In one of the 1800's bldgs. I found a very old elevator. It had a very ornate plate around the call buttons on the wall. I wanted it, but didn't have my tools that day. In the Carew Tower section, I found an elevator bank that was original to the bldg., with beautiful etched Art Deco stainless steel or Monel doors. This was back in a stock area, but had obviously been a selling floor area at one time. The elevators were no longer in use.

While in the sub-basement one day, I went through a door that led to 3 or 4 steps which went down to a wide hallway. The door locked behind me, so I had to go down this hall about 150', past several sets of steps leading to doors that had various business names on them. I came to a stairwell, went up it, and came out next to the main elevators in the Carew Tower. I found out this hallway was under the lower arcade.

I had always wondered about a set of small doors in various areas of the 1916 bldg. One had the bottom at floor level, and the top about 5' high. Next to this was a smaller door, the bottom about 3' off the floor, and the top lined up with the larger. So I pushed them open, and found that each was connected to a spiral chute. The larger had been fire escapes, and the smaller were package chutes to send things down to the shipping dept. I soon found that people were trying out the fire chutes, so I went up to the top floor and went down it, and came out on the 1st. floor near one of the entrances. Needless to say, my clothes were pretty dirty when I got down.

Among many of my purchases were some blueprints of the Carew Tower section of the store. Included in these were the original drawings for the design of the elevator doors I mentioned above. I also bought 2 chrome frame chairs, which were designed by Gilbert Rohde for the Troy Sunshade Co. I paid $20 each, and found they are worth several hundred each. I think I spent a little over $100 altogether, but got well over $1000 of various items.


Post# 953141 , Reply# 22   8/16/2017 at 18:57 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
In Breed Hills..

neptunebob's profile picture
The secret room was like the one in this video- everywhere you turned around, kids!



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Post# 953193 , Reply# 23   8/17/2017 at 08:24 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
"old main" building

at Wayne state university.
A few of us may have heard all the rumors, or um, stories
there.





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