The "Doorway to ..."



Only the Initiated Know
What Lies on the Other Side
of this Sealed-Off Doorway

of the House's Main Hallway

At the northernmost end of the House's main Hallway,

directly under the grand staircase,
and close by the door to the Library,
there is a sealed-off doorway (shown above)

in what was once the west wall of the building.

The House's pay telephone is now attached to a plaster wall
that closes up this doorway.

There's even remains a doorbell on the door frame

(but why a doorbell on the inside of the House??) .

What is this doorway?

Where did / does it lead?

At one time it lead out to a porch / yard to west of the House.

In 1924-5, though, the open lot lying west of the House

was sold off for construction of the apartment building

that now is Delta Phi Epsilon's nextdoor neighbor

at 3405 Prospect Street.

This apartment building, however,

does not occupy all the open land that once was our House's west yard.
Still remaining is small 8' x 8' open-air court,
that is enclosed on three sides by the neighboring building.

Looking down from the west window of DPE House's attic

onto the roof of the neighboring apartment building

and the 8' by 8' vestigal open courtyard

that lies is just outside the mystery doorway


But what lies on the floor of that small courtyard

to the west of DPE House ?

And what happens in that courtyard

beyond thne now sealed-off "mystery doorway"?



The "Mystery Staircase"

The "Mystery Stairwell"
There is a doorway in The Harry Spraker Library
that leads to a spiral stairwell

going down to the Basement Party Room.
Originally this stairwell was a Servants' Staircase,
running from the basement all the way up to the 3rd floor

Presently only the bottom third of the original Staircase remains
(i.e., that part that from the basement to just beneath the 2nd floor bathroom's floor).
The remaining two-thirds became in the 1910s
the 2nd and 3rd floor bathrooms
when the House acquired indoor plumbing.

Just inside the Library's entrance to the stairwell

is a 3' x 3' landing
and on the left of that landing is a door (in the picture below shown open),
behind which one can see the stairwell's steps going up to the second floor
(they are now stopped at the joists holding up the 2nd floor bathroom's floor)

The Mystery Staircase
Shown here is the continuation of the circular stairwell that come up from the Basement Part Room
These stairs are just behind the black door

on the east side of the landing off from The Harry Spraker Library
(Notice the old lathes that had once supported plaster walls;
the lighter colored vertical studs are recent additions,
meant to support the heavy concrete bathroom floor now above)

Immediately above the Mystery Staircase
is now the Second Floor Bathroom,
which was installed when the House acquired indoor plumbing.
At present the bathroom's walls are tile;
but behind the tiles in bathroom's north wall
is what once was an old doorway permitting  egress

from the circular staircase's second floor landing
into what is now the Terrace Room.

When the second floor bathroom was re-built in 2001,
I took the opportunity to photograph what remains of that doorway
(which is now blocked by a shower stall).

The Hidden Staircase's "Lost doorway"



The "Lost doorway"
that is now behind the back wall of the second floor shower stall.
Shown above is all that remains of this doorway,
which once connected the staircase's second floor landing
with House's Sitting Room (now "The Terrace Room").
The door frame on the staircase side was removed in 1925
when a bathroom took the place of the landing.
Up until the early 1960s, though, there remained on the wall's Terrace Room side
a door frame (albeit filled in with drywall).
That door frame was, however, removed in 1981
by Bro. Norman R. Gritsch, Al-'79.
when he built a wet bar in the Terrace Room.

For a possible reason why there had been this doorway
between the staircase and the former Sitting Room
(after all, why this doorway, when anyone could have gone

between the staircase/bathroom
and the sitting room/Terrace Room
simply by stepping out onto the House's Main Staircase)
click here.



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