ST. LOUIS – Recent construction in downtown St. Louis has uncovered an issue one citizen has been trying to sound the alarm about for years. In the process, a hidden room was uncovered under a public sidewalk, which happens more often than most people realize.
The latest discovery is at Olive and Jefferson’s in front of the old Sam Light building. A construction crew has just uncovered the hidden room.
Patrick Welsh, superintendent at Gershenson Construction, said the discovery was made by a worker who had just broken up the old sidewalk with a crawler hoe.
“Lo and behold, we have this huge hole that goes all the way to the curb that no one knew about,” Welsh said. “It goes down to the basement. It was an old coal mine, or who knows, it might have been Prohibition stuff.”
It brings back a frightening memory for Derrick Langeneckert, who fell into a similar hole in a sidewalk in 2017.
“Almost exactly six years have passed since my accident,” said Langeneckert. “The hole is actually still there.”
Currently the hole is covered with plywood and surrounded by a fence. It’s been like this since Langeneckert says he broke his back in a fall inside.
Langeckert was at a beer festival that day. The road was closed and the sidewalks behind the stalls were used for heavy equipment such as a generator and the forklift that Langeneckert used to transport beer that day.
He’s still in the middle of a legal battle with St. Louis over the accident. The city doesn’t want to talk about it because of the litigation, but Langeneckert’s court filings show evidence the city is aware of hidden rooms under sidewalks throughout the area. Pictures from the court file show those of the hidden room into which Langeneckert fell. These images show that the ceiling was constructed of block glass in the early 1900s to allow shopkeepers to take advantage of the natural light.
“How many people in construction these days don’t realize what you’re walking over?” Welsh said.
Only a thin layer of concrete appeared to cover the hidden space into which Langeneckert fell in 2017. That’s in stark contrast to what the construction crews discovered this week.
“I don’t think[my crew member]was in any danger because whoever built it put rebar over it from end to end,” Welsh said. “So it was done right, thank God.”
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https://fox2now.com/news/fox-files/another-hidden-chamber-found-under-downtown-st-louis-sidewalk/ Another hidden chamber was found under the sidewalk in downtown St. Louis