Good times

Remember this?

TNT box

We found this sturdy wooden box when we were excavating under the extremely dusty eaves on the second floor of this 127-year-old Methodist church. Demolition yielded a lot of interesting artifacts we let go of (read: sold, donated or trashed), but Tyler took a liking to this old box that once held dynamite.

Back when our little church was coming together, the village was also home to the junction for two major rail lines. I imagine dynamite was used to dislodge bedrock in some locations to keep level the train tracks under construction. The bedrock where our village is located is probably made of shale or possibly dolomite, which in any case cannot be shoveled. It must be blasted.

Tyler cleaned up the box, sanded it and applied a couple coats of polyurethane. Then I added a few issues from my vast collection of magazines, and ta, da! A magazine rack for the great room in the church we now call home.

magazine rack

It looks dy-n-o-mite, don’t you think?

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Alert readers may realize today’s headline is a not-so-veiled reference to the 1970s television sitcom “Good Times,” which starred Jimmie Walker whose character was known for the catchphrase “Dy-no-mite!” There’s a look into how my mind works, folks: History, geology, arcane TV references and home decor all come together in one place.

‘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.