What could it be for?

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Can't you get anything right? It's NU-QU-LAR.
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Didnt John Wane Gacy live in Ohio for awhile before Chicago.
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Lots of things. Hiding liquor during Prohibition. Hiding valuables at any time. (My house has a secret compartment that the original owner used to store his silverware in.) It could have been part of the underground railroad, like you suggested. Ohio is a bit far north, though.
Dimitri
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D. Gerasimatos wrote:

No Ohio was not too north. I know of at least one location in Columbus Ohio, very nice place BTW and there were a number of stations along the north shore of the Ohio river.

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Joseph Meehan

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D. Gerasimatos wrote:

Not so. I live at the shore of Lake Erie and many of the older homes here were part of the underground railway. The freed slaves were not safe until they got to Canada; boats picked them up here. They had to be kept hidden here as there were many agents of the slaveholders searching for them and, as posted above, the law was on the side of the slave owners.

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Fall out shelter???
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Did you buy the house from Michael Jackson?
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rest of the walls of the foundation, or the same age / same construction? Possibly the house was simply added onto back in the past, and access hole was added to be able to access the new crawlspace (OK, so 5' isn't really a crawlspace, but it sure ain't a functional basement, either).
Hard to believe it's a root cellar -- the access sounds incredibly inconveniently placed.
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It could have been just a normal crawlspace, with the access hatch eventually covered by new flooring added later on.
When I had my new hardwood floor installed, I also had a problem about what to do with the 2'x2' access hatch to my crawlspace. It's not a good ideay to close it off, since crawlspace access is very convenient for electrical and plumbing work. The floor installer suggested covering the hatch with hardwood with two inlaid brass handles, and creating a hardwood frame around the hatch. Everything is flat and looks pretty good. The hatch can be opened when necessary but is otherwise unobtrusive. A cutoff wooden ladder rests on the edge of the hatch access hole to provide "stairs" to the crawlspace floor.

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Dorthy Fuller wrote:

Another possibility that hasn't been mentioned yet is that it used to be a cistern to hold rainwater. I don't think that was a common thing to do, however, I have personally seen one cistern and have heard of others in old houses.
My guess is that it is simply an addition to the house, and when they built the new foundation, they didn't bother to break a hole through the old foundation to access the new. You should be able to easily tell if this section of the house is an addition or not.
As others have said, it wouldn't be part of the underground railroad unless the house was built before the 1860's.
Ken
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That occurred to me, too, but if it was a cistern, they'd probably have parged the walls, the floor would be either clay or some kind of masonry, and you ought to be able to see where pipes for the downspouts and kitchen pump used to be.
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"Dorthy Fuller" wrote
<snip>
Thanks for all the replies! Sorry I posted about an unknown history, we do know the house was built around 1838. We had contacted our local police department. Believe it or not, we are only allowed to gather some items and suitcases for a couple hours here and then we will be notified when we can return. They have the entire house yellow taped off, Police Line Do Not Cross. This is now more scary than it is exciting! I will give another update whenever we are allowed back inside and are given at least a clue as what in the world is going on.
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On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 23:40:35 GMT, "Dorthy Fuller"

Whoa! Guess I should have suggested the local historical society sooner. :-)
Do let us all know whazzup.
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Why on earth did you contact the police department?!?!
Dimitri
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Have Y'all been Trolled?..Ross
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I smelled TROLL on this one from the first post.
Notice the difference in the dates from 100 years old to 167+ years old.
Let's wait and see how it unfolds.
Colbyt
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I noticed the discrepancy too so I did a ping plot on the OP's message header and it came back as Cleveland, OH....so who knows....I'll have to agree to wait and see what unfolds.....Ross
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Ross Mac wrote:

century home is one that is at least 100 years old. There is no such expression as a 1.67+ century home.
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Ross Mac wrote:

Unless I mised something, it isn't a discrepancy. In the first post it was called a "century house". Doesn't mean that it is 100 years old. AFIK that term is applied to any house at least that old.
Hary K
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