It wasn’t on any of the plans, yet there it sat – begging to be opened.
The chain of events was already an amazing story he would tell for years to come. But every part of him hoped there was another step in their underground journey. His mind raced with countless possibilities as he stepped forward and pushed hard.
Ian was an enthusiastic home renovator and DIYer, but the final project on his list was something he had been avoiding since the get-go.
The basement room was not only in rough shape, but brickwork was low on his list of talents. It was time to call in reinforcements.
His friend Neil was far better suited to help him salvage the beautiful lines of the classic wine cellar.
Whether or not it would be used to store actual wine was a different story. A gaming room was a strong contender. However, as they started sorting bricks, Ian noticed something strange.
From the little he had learned about his new home and property, was that much of the bricks and limestone accents had been reclaimed.
Most of them were what anyone would expect – aged, reddish, and rough. Several of them, however, had strange markings etched into the surface.
Ian and Neil separated the unique pieces and puzzled over their meaning. A code? Bored workers with an old-style version of graffiti?
He was about to suggest spy co-ordinates when Neil showed the search results on his phone. Neither of them had any idea of what was about to happen.
It turns out the markings were very intentional.
Ian turned one over in his hand and listened to his friend talk about manufacturer stamps, and how most of what surrounded them had come from Illinois. But as he picked up another one, the end broke off and shattered on the floor. There was a small compartment inside.
There, nestled in a pile of red dust was an old key.
The rusted, ornate curves and distinct geometric teeth were a clear sign it wasn’t modern by any means. He carefully pulled it out, feeling a rush of excitement. This was unbelievable. There was only one, burning question.
What did it open? Since the bricks had come from another State, maybe it belonged to a far-away door.
Perhaps some poor worker had lost his house key. Still, the surge of adventure was strong and they scrambled around the room, looking for another clue. It was closer than they expected.
The plan had always been to dismantle sections of the wall down so they could find any future problems with the cellar.
But now the motivation was real. The thrill of discovery flooded their brains. With ecstatic grins, they started to chisel and pull out parts. It didn’t take long to uncover something new.
Behind the far wall was a hidden door. Whatever was going on there wasn’t on the blueprints.
Ian felt giddy – like a kid about to run down for Christmas morning. This was unbelievable. It was even more astounding than the key actually turned inside! The door groaned and squealed as he heaved it open.
He ducked into the new, small space – careful to watch his footing just in case.
The air smelled old and stale. Years of dust and dirt had built up over mounds and dips of what looked like rotting canvas. Feeling his heart beat at maximum, he tugged at a corner.
The fabric fell away to reveal a pile of old crates, nailed boxes, and some mysterious wrapped objects.
Both of them stared in awe. Ian pulled out a dusty bottle from one box. He squinted at the faded label and then let out a bellowing laugh.
Neil grabbed the jug, wanting to know what was so funny.
Ian said, “Whiskey. I have hidden whiskey in my hidden wine cellar. This is insane!” They poured over every item and piece of paper, wanting to know more. After all, the older the find, the more valuable it could be.
In the end, Ian and Neil uncovered 30 bottles, a couple of piles of disintegrating cash, plenty of old American coins, and a ledger.
It turned out it was a prohibition stash. Ian couldn’t help but think of the nerve it had taken for someone to hide booze … in a booze room. But what was it all worth?
The total value of the discovery ended up over $20,000! There was no measuring the historic value though.
In the end, he decided to donate a few pieces and sell most of the remaining bottles to collectors. He would keep a couple in his wine cellar … or game room? Whatever it ended up being, he now had the money for it.