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Mystery Object in McDoel Gardens!

We recently had a Bloomington resident call the History Center to inquire about a particular object he had in his basement. The origin and purpose has stumped him. He sent us some photos and it has stumped us as well! We’re hoping one of you will recognize it and be able to tell us what it is!

Here is what he has to say: “It is in the far northeast corner of my (unfinished) basement. It is about three feet tall and sits on a base made out of bricks, which is cemented to the floor. It looks like it was built out of three pieces and these are cemented together. The lid is also made of cement and has a wooden handle attached by two heavy wires. Beneath the lid is a dugout, about 8″ x 12″ and 7″ deep. On either side of the dugout, there is a chain embedded in the concrete. Each is two heavy-duty links.”

Thing 5

Thing 4


Thing 1

His home was built in 1925 and is in the McDoel Gardens neighborhood. Is this some lost remnant from the circus? from a mill? from the rail yard? Please let us know your thoughts! We’d love to solve this mystery!

Comments (7)

  1. Phil Childress


    This appears to be a type of homemade fireproof safe. It was made to fit a metal lock box that went closely into the cavity. The chains went over that box and were fastened with a padlock. The concrete lid was placed on top for fire protection.

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