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Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

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Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/6/2012, 5:34 pm

Hello All!

It's my turn to tell the story of my day. I know this is not SFG, but it's where I want to put my SFGs and it involves dirt (although not Mel's Mix) and I need some advice. Smile

My 19 year old son wanted to dig a hole today (the weather was nice and I think he figured it would be a good workout). So we had two projects my husband gave him. My house was built in 1912 (the first house on the block appears around 1908-1910) and the property was farmland before that according to city records. I've owned the house for 20 years this summer.

Project 1
We had a rust covered concrete pole that when I purchased the house 20 years ago had a clothesline tied to it. We knew it was sunk in concrete but really didn't think too much about it. Today my son actually discovered when he knocked it down that it's concrete encased in some rusty thin metal coating and it's got a metal pipe running through it and it's sunk in the ground but good. The concrete tube around the bottom of it is a much stronger concrete than that which the upper part was (or it's been exposed to fewer elements)? Does anyone have a guess what this was or if it's worth digging down to try to take it out. The pipe in the middle has me concerned and now I'm thinking - old gaslight or something? The original pole was probably 6-8 feet tall.

Top of pole


Length of pole


What's left in ground


Project 2
This one is EVEN WEIRDER. The post is over at the side of my yard but this is in the center of the yard about 30-40 feet from the house. This is at the base of my black walnut tree and was some old exposed concrete just sticking up over the dirt. I honestly thought it was a rock garden border and went down maybe 4-6 inches and we'd just get a shovel under it and pry it up (it's been like that since I bought the house). After some uncovering and a lot of backbreaking tree root busting - my son dug around and down and we found it's a sort of diamond shape with smooth concrete inner walls which went down fairly far. We haven't found a bottom yet, but we did find the small end side does stop about 18 inches down or so (at this point, it doesn't seem like it had a bottom). The larger walls seem to stop and tip backward and then he's hitting something else (we aren't sure what, could just be tree root). You can see my son's feet and legs in the pictures for size (one I think has my husband's feet "overseeing" from his chair). WHAT the HECK is this thing? The guys were trying to tell me it's a grave...lol...so far no bones, thank goodness. Anyone got any ideas about what is is/was or where to find out? Smile

Outline of shape


One end mostly dug out with measuring tape for size


That end dug out to where it appears to stop

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  B00kemdano on 3/6/2012, 5:41 pm

The second one might be a foundation for an outhouse! Dig carefully. Razz

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pull the object out

Post  tomperrin on 3/6/2012, 6:00 pm

If the object with the metal in it was in my yard, I would probably attempt to pull it out using a chain, trailer hitch and 4WD pickup.

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second mystery

Post  curio on 3/6/2012, 6:22 pm

Is this large enough to be some kind of cistern? Is there a concrete bottom? The thoughts that come to me are cistern or fish pond. Are there any sort of pipes running through it anywhere?
My guess on the first one is that they used something as a mold for the concrete anchor, much like we'd use a pre-shaped form for sinking and stabilizing supports for a porch roof, deck or something else that is weight bearing. Back then, people used what they had handy, and often reassigned uses for anything not needed.

Is there an area historian that you might take photos of the hole to? Is the shape uniform? If it's a uniform size down each opposite side, it might "be" a grave that has long been forgotten. A historian might know the shape and be able to give insight.

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  camprn on 3/6/2012, 7:27 pm

Is there a bottom to it? Like a pool or a fountain? Looks like a place that could use some MM. Shocked Please post some more photos when you have made further excavation. Very Happy


Last edited by camprn on 3/6/2012, 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : request added)

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  walshevak on 3/6/2012, 9:33 pm

The shape to me indicates something decorative. Purely functional would more likely be square or rectanglular. A vault for a coffin would be rectangular and much deeper and you would have found evidence of a coffin by now. A septic tank would be square. If it had a concrete bottom, I'd go for fountain base. It seems too small for a fish pond although that was my first thought.

Kay

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  GWN on 3/6/2012, 11:52 pm

Perhaps it was a ..... garden.

This is SOOOOO cool.
could it have been the corner of the garden with the concrete being bordering. I know it seems extravagant for bordering, but ..who knows.

PLEAse more pictures as you did, I am dying to see your santa clause husband....

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  LauraG on 3/7/2012, 7:21 am

It is possible that this is the support base for an old oil tank. We have a similar set-up in our side yard; a metal oil tank rests underground in the concrete footing and the pipe extends up from the tank to above ground for refilling. Check the concrete and see if there is a drain-hole or other place where pipes may run from the tank to the house before you pull this out of the ground; it might still be connected to your home or run underneath other critical infrastructure. If you have a metal detector you could use that or you could simply take a piece of re-bar and probe the ground between the footing and the house to see if it comes into contact with any old pipes, etc.

Just a guess; it could be all kinds of other stuff too.

Your very own mystery to solve!!


Last edited by LauraG on 3/7/2012, 7:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : missing word)

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/7/2012, 2:07 pm

Thanks for the ideas - keep em coming Smile -

Camp - I was actually trying to figure out how to utilize it in some cool way like that...

BUT... Bookemdano - your idea may not be far fetched. I'm trying to do a little research on septic tanks in the early part of last century because a friend told me they would build them in strange shapes with corners to take advantage of the natural way the ground drained... Smile - The ticket is if we keep digging and find any evidence that there were any pipes going in or out of this. Those early septic tanks would not have had a bottom...

Kay - the shape made me think it was decorative until I heard the above...well that and I live in a fairly blue collar area even for the time the home was built (and my home is one of the smaller of the original ones on the block) so I can't imagine a resident here using up valuable concrete for something decorative that long ago when they could've used something less expensive...???

Curio - I marched myself down to our local library to their collection of local history. The ladies there were quite nice but didn't know what it was - we did determine I'm still several blocks from the nearest old mine shaft (good to know). Next I'm going to comb city directories and obits and try to see if I can locate someone who would have any family pictures of this property. The older couple that lived here for many years before me eventually passed away childless and I bought the home from a nephew who had inherited it and lived in another state. Sad

Laura G - yes, until we get a little deeper we won't know if this pipe was purely for structural stability or if "something"...water, gas, oil? at one time ran through it?? Gotta love these hundred year old neighborhoods. Smile

Lastly GWN, these are for you... Smile

This was a picture of a photograph that appeared on the front page of our paper on Christmas Day a few years ago... Smile


This is a picture from one of the Christmases when it was snowing in front of our Old Historical State Capitol in Illinois...


This is last Christmas time in front of my Aunt's house (the original family home on my mom's side)...note he has "real" boots now... LOL Smile



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update on mysterious hole

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/7/2012, 8:31 pm

We got to a "bottom" about 21 inches down. It appears to be cracked concrete (remember BIG tree near it) but it may have some sort of terra cotta material over it? The hole measures about 102 inches at it's longest point and about 45 inches at it's widest. We still don't know what it was/is... :scratch:

Here's where we are now....


A couple of the interesting things my son found in the dirt filling it...




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treasure

Post  curio on 3/7/2012, 8:36 pm

Those marbles might be valuable. I'd find a marble enthusiast or a good book on antique marbles and see what I could find (antiques dealer coming to the surface here). The bottle is neat... do you know what the other piece of glass might be?

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  TejasTerry on 3/7/2012, 8:52 pm

My husband said possibly a "cesspool"...evidently they had those before building our modern day septics. He said his grandfather built something similar on their farm.

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  camprn on 3/7/2012, 9:20 pm

If you have a Historical society in your area, they may be of help. Also, your toy soldier looks like a dough boy. I like treasure hunts so thanks for sharing yours! What a Face

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut on 3/7/2012, 10:48 pm

Thanks all - It's rather still a mystery...but I will post if I learn anything new... Smile The joys of uncovering things where families have laughed and cried interests me, my history-teacher husband, and my son. Smile

TejasTerry - If you get a chance, I'd love for you to ask your husband if he knows if cesspools had bottoms. We had thought that at first too, but I thought they were made so the waste would leach into the ground so they were bottomless, thus contributing to the oft-contaminated water supplies of the time.

Camp - the soldier is definitely made from metal - it's surprisingly heavy for its size. My son was going to ask a man he knows who has an antique store downtown about it.

Curio - I know this sounds nuts - but the other piece is almost shaped like the old smooth doorknobs, yet it's glass...not sure yet what it is. Smile

Glad you all have enjoyed our little mystery - we'll do a sequel if we learn more - and now back to your regularly scheduled SFG programming... Smile

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  GWN on 3/7/2012, 11:10 pm

It is hard to know the size of the soldier and the marbles because either one could be large or small.
Could you post a picture of them with something that is more standard in size, such as a coin, or a bobby pin...Smile

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  GWN on 3/7/2012, 11:14 pm

oh, I just saw the Santa Clause pictures, yes he IS a great Santa.
This is SUCH a great mystery.
What about a fish pond? At least perhaps a guppy pond.....?

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  FamilyGardening on 3/7/2012, 11:15 pm

first thought.....it looks like a grave What a Face

hugs

rose

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

Post  TejasTerry on 3/8/2012, 7:31 am

My husband said some of the cesspools had bottoms and others didn't. He asked if you had found any clay pipe going to it.

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Re: Mysterious post and concrete walls in the ground?

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