Thursday, March 26, 2015

Secret vault underneath the streets of Kansas City.

This is an update of an old post from another blog of mine, archived here. Enjoy!

[Original Post October 30, 2011]

Below a friend of mine’s apartment complex, there was a series of elevator doors, room and hallways from the early turn of the 19th century which eventually led to…

a HUGE abandoned bank vault! Look at the size and thickness of the door! When I first laid eyes upon it, I didn’t have words that I could formulate. I LOVE old industrial design and this old bank vault was a phenomenal sight to behold. I mean it was so surreal to get past some old rarely used doors, and walk through some age old labyrinthian areas to find THIS.

The details of the vault door were in exceptional condition. All of the interior mechanisms had the original luster and finishes, not an ounce of rust apparent anywhere internally. The glass covering the components was flawless and so clear it’s not even readily apparent in the photos you see here. As my friend noted while we were down there, the release wheel’s handles even looked to be made of Ebony. Ebony (Diospyros spp., family Ebenaceae), for those of you that don’t know, refers to species of tropical hardwood trees that were harvested for their hard and beautiful wood.

The black or brown heartwood was used commercially and in high frequency in the earlier part of the 20th century. Although there are more than 300 species of ebony, ranging in size from shrubs to trees taller than 100 ft (30 m) it is becoming increasingly rare to find. The material is some of most dense wood you could work with, dulling even the most sharp wood working tools within minutes and giving termites pause to want to even eat at it. How dense is that? Well, for one, the Macassar ebony variety is so dense it doesn’t float in water. Sinks like a brick. Seriously!

It’s odd how out of place the vault seemed, and there was an air of forgotten or relic like importance to seeing it as it was. It felt like a movie set piece, and certainly something out of place beneath the apartment complex. (At least until I found out that that building had indeed been a bank many many years back, I feel a want to research into it’s history now.)

It’s an amazing work of craftsmanship, and I hope to be able to get some good HD footage of it when I have better lighting conditions. It’s times like this that I wish I had the means to turn something like this into an art gallery. I wonder how much of the substructure of America in general has overlooked gems like this, either wasting away, or sitting silently in a darkened overpaved series of rooms. I have a lot of respect for the archaeologists that do field work. Here in this case, I was alerted to the presence of this by someone that knew it’s whereabouts. Not so much if you are working in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.


Update March 26th 2015 - I never did get a chance to return to this spot, and the friend of mine that was able to get me access into this area moved out of the area a bit over a year ago.

I know where it is, and hopefully can get back to it at some point. I'll update this with more information as I come across it.

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