A few days ago I wrote about the history of The Shady Dell property prior to it becoming a hip teen hangout. Early owners faced financial distress, illness, and even encounters with the KKK. Eventually, luck changed for the property and for several decades it saw success. The home has been completely renovated and is looking for a new owner to call it home once again.
When you mention The Dell, the first thing that comes to mind is the dancehall where the teens fed quarters into the jukebox and signed the walls with their named and an assortment of drawings.
I’d like to take you on a tour of the Shady Lady’s lessor known areas, which I recently had the opportunity to explore.
The Shady Dell Complex…
Tucked away behind the property’s home is the cluster of buildings shown above. This “creation” was the work of several different owners over the years, but the exact time of their construction is unknown.
In the front of the building to the left is the dancehall, where several generations of teens danced the night away. To the right is the garage where George Brown sold and serviced Cadillac and REO automobiles in the 1910s and 20s. In the rear you can see the peaked roof of the barn, where horses and a number of other animals were raised.
Shady Dell guests were only allowed to access the dancehall and restaurant which was in the house. The other areas were off limits and seen by few others… until now.
Imagine this room in the early part of the 1900s. This is where Cadillac and REO automobiles were once serviced and sold before the business slowed and eventually closed. Today the room contains building supplies and random odds and ends. A stairway in the back leads up to the loft, while one in the front leads to the stables below.
When you walk up the aging stairs to the loft, you aren’t sure what to expect when you reach the top. Two windows are the only sources of natural light, although one is covered by a set of shutters.
Items in the room are few and far between, with the exception of old windows and unique old doors which likely came from the old house. A wooden ladder leads to the ceiling while another rests on the floor.
A previous owner raised squab – a young domestic pigeon – on the property and it’s possible they were kept in this loft. Screen was found attached to some beams where a pen was possibly located.
The stable area…
In the lower portion of the barn you will find the stable, where horses and other animals were housed. One side is an open area with a few stalls for horses, while the other contains a maze of walkways, stalls, and assorted rooms.
In each area you will find random items left by previous owners, none more significant than the next. A wooden desk, an old radio – simple things discarded over the years.
On the other side of the door shown above is an interesting stall that still intrigues me. Loose hay or straw at least three-feet deep covers the floor, while an old decrepit mattress lays on top in one corner. Did someone call that stall “home” at one time?
This narrow walkway leads to a stairway that takes you up to the old garage. One gets an eerie feeling walking down it in the darkness, not knowing what to expect as you proceed.
Shady Dell is a mysterious place…
Most people adore the beautiful house at The Dell, but I’m more fascinated by the secrets contained in the old barn, garage, and loft. Even the old dancehall whispers new secrets to me each time I visit.
I wonder what she’ll share the next time I go to see her…
- Want to learn more about The Dell and music during its heyday? Visit Shady Dell Music & Memories
- I LOVE exploring old places like this. If you know of one I would like, please let me know.