‘What can I say? I’m sorry. See ya next time’

Our story so far: My husband Tyler and I discovered jewels and junk in the demolition phase of converting our old Methodist church into a house.

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One of the final places we demolished was the area beneath the entryway steps.

Based on old photos we found, we determined the steps were not original to the church. The original entry was beneath the belfry; the current entry had been constructed in the early 1940s.

Leading to the opening beneath the carpeted wood steps, a cupboard door of sorts without a knob had been sealed with foam and painted over (maybe more than once). In other hiding places in the church, we’d found old Christmas decorations (disappointing) and a plethora of old doors (thrilling!), so Tyler and I were curious what might be hidden under the steps.

He chipped away at the trim around the door, discarding pieces in all directions. “I feel like Geraldo Rivera!” he said, and I giggled.

Readers of a certain age may remember Rivera, who hosted a 1986 special on The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults during which he spent an hour hyping the potential discoveries of a secret vault beneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago. When the vault was finally opened on live TV, the only things found inside were dirt and several empty bottles. [Rivera’s last words of the episode are the title of this post.]

beneath the stairs

Like Rivera, our discovery was disappointing. The members of the church had left behind only a pile of scrap wood and a Bible comic book from 1962. The best thing, in fact, was the cupboard door: Solid beadboard.

beadboard cupboard
The back of the vault door was the best part.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 11 concludes with a look at what we accomplished during demo. Read it here.

3 thoughts on “‘What can I say? I’m sorry. See ya next time’

  1. My parents were married in that church in January 1944 when the sanctuary still faced east and the original entrance was under the belfry. I am sure there is a picture of them standing outdoors on the original stairs somewhere in our family collection!


    • You must look for that picture. One of the historical pieces I found says the current entryway was built during the tenure of a specific pastor in 1941-1944.


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