Secret Rooms in Pole Buildings

My oldest son Jake (read more about the adventures of Jake and I here:, has always had a certain fascination with secret rooms.  Maybe it was from playing the board game Clue too many times as a child!

At least his interest is good natured, unlike America’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes. As described in Erik Larson’s 2004 book, “The Devil in the White City”.

Among the more gruesome hidden rooms and secret passages were those used by H.H. Holmes, often called America’s first serial killer. In the late 1800s, Holmes (born Herman Webster Mudgett) constructed an enormous building in Chicago. Part of the money for this project came from his dishonest dealings in insurance fraud and the occasional murder. The top floor of the three-story building contained numerous architectural oddities, like hidden staircases, doors which could only be opened from the outside, and trap doors allowing Holmes to enter rooms while guests were sleeping.

No builder worked on the construction for very long because Holmes wanted to be the only person to know its secrets. It is believed Holmes murdered hundreds of victims in this “Murder Castle,” as it became known. The victims’ bodies dropped to the hidden dissection room/crematorium in the basement via a secret chute. The Murder Castle burned to the ground in 1895 and a post office now stands on the site.

Those hidden rooms, it turns out, can be found even in post frame buildings, as a Michigan family made an unexpected and bizarre discovery when they found a secret wall while doing some spring cleaning.

“We were creeped out at first,” said Gwen Skover.

It turns out Gwen Skover and her family found a treasure trove of women’s footwear stuffed with lingerie, including dozens of bras and panties.

It was on a secret shoe rack possibly hidden for decades inside the walls of the closet in the family’s pole barn in Gladwin County.

They believe the items date back to the 1970’s.

This is nothing nefarious, but certainly curious and makes you think.

“They’re going to be wondering what’s hidden behind their walls. That’s what they will be doing. Everybody is going to be thinking there is walls somewhere that are secret walls,” said Skover.

The beauty of a new pole building is you can plan your hidden rooms anywhere you like! With wide open clear spans and the ability to place walls anywhere within, it affords the ideal flexibility in design of your new secret hiding place.

Oh, Jake…..he and his lovely bride recently added onto their home. And maybe, just maybe, it has a secret hidden room!

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