Was this building an ice house?
November 14, 2016 10:19 PM   Subscribe

What was or is this building used for? It is one story small with stairs leading to short 4ft doors. It is at the end of East St. in Golden CO along Clear Creek.
posted by emypocu to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have a shop in a 90 sq. foot ice house. One of the main features is 18' thick stone walls. What does the insulation look like? Can you tell?
posted by Vaike at 10:23 PM on November 14, 2016

Yeah, insulation would be a clue. My first thought was sheep-shearing shed, but the steps make that look wrong.
posted by quinndexter at 10:31 PM on November 14, 2016

No clue. Appears abandoned from Clear Creek side which is where picture of doors was taken. Parking lot adjecent has daily activity and is near Coors facility. Curious what purpose small squat doors with stairs would serve?
posted by emypocu at 10:32 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Well squat doors says 'animals' to me, but steps says 'humans', soo... 'goods'. Possibly 'stuff'.
posted by quinndexter at 12:02 AM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

That's right about where the Clear Creek Superfund region ends. Some sort of water testing or monitoring?
posted by susiswimmer at 1:38 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

A worthy mystery!

The Jefferson County property map shows the building at the west end of parcel number 01-001, a large tract owned by Coors that wraps around the end of Archer Street. Are there any signs on the side of the building that faces the parking lot?

Your picture shows an electric meter and what looks like a phone company network access point. On Google street view I don't see any wires from the nearby power pole to the building. If you go back, it would be interesting to know if it's still connected to the grid and if it's drawing any power.

It doesn't look like it's been used recently, but if it had been abandoned for very long, I would expect to see more plants growing up through the steps.

My guess is no on the ice house.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:12 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

It was probably originally just a little warehouse of some kind. The doors are off the ground because they were for unloading from a train- if you slide the map over to 12th street you can see the still active line that runs through the middle of the brewery, that used to run through to the building of interest.
posted by rockindata at 4:28 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm thinking a build for hop storage or drying maybe.
posted by plinth at 5:41 AM on November 15, 2016

Go to the public library and find an old city directory -- they're sort of a reverse-phone-book: if you know an address, you can find out what was at that location. They're usually an annual publication, so you might have to look through several, but based on the address you should be able to find the business that was at that location -- and my guess is, with custom buildings, it was probably located there for quite a while, so it shouldn't be too hard to identify the industry.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:08 AM on November 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

It looks too modern and flimsily-built for an ice house (tar paper shingles, wood panels, quite small). There's a modern electrical meter (and maybe a telephone hookup box?) and numbered doors. The icehouse I'm most familiar with has only one door at the bottom and one door at the top. More doors = more heat exchange with the outside.

It looks like it's built on a slope. If there are doors on other sides, I'd guess it's a simple quick-built modern storage unit. The spaces are small, that's all (for context, we rented a small storage unit in California that had a small door, but the door was inside the building via a main entrance, not opening directly to the outside).

Is this the building in the lower right corner of the map image, behind the garage? Judging by the parking spaces next to it, and the proximity to a traditional garage, I think storage for the housing on that block is a decent guess.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:44 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a Colorado native, if I came across this, I think I would assume it's for animals. Chicken coops? Some other kind of animal dwelling? Maybe the steps and squat doors are for feeding. I wonder what the other side looks like.
posted by univac at 9:19 AM on November 15, 2016

I grew up with an ice house and in my area (not near yours) they were often taller with doors atop one another so you could get to the ice as it melted over time. The door handles do make it look like a retrofitted cooler of some sort possibly. I second going to the public library or seeing if you can poke around in old maps of Golden (Sanborn is usually what people have). The Library of Congress has some online here but the library may have searchable versions that are more recent (the one I looked at may show the building but had no more information)
posted by jessamyn at 9:53 AM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

The combination of low door and stairs make little sense if this building is being used for reach in storage. It would make more sense for the threshold of the door to be at waist level thereby saving money on the stairs (because they'd be 3' shorter) and making it much easier to remove things from the storage behind the door. Having to bend over at the top of a set of stairs without a landing and do anything useful as far as material handling goes would be difficult and dangerous.

On the other hand the stairs rather than ramp; hand rails; stair lighting; and unit numbers sure lean towards human access. The door handles also look like two sided human accessible handles rather than something designed for use only from outside the space. And the latches are protected by anti-pry plates. Also the building is conspicuous for having not natural lighting even in the doors.

My thought would be a barn with vaulted ceiling that has been partially or wholly converted to mini storage. The stairs lead into rooms extending fully or half way across the building. The bell box is probably for an alram or building monitor rather than phone service.

The building's address appears to actually be on Archer street. Here's a view from the other side. The parking in that view seems to service the building across the street.
posted by Mitheral at 12:05 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

So many great thoughts on possibilities. Thank you all! A trip to the local library is in order, I'll update with discoveries if any made.
posted by emypocu at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2016

The City Directory could be helpful, but you'd need to be looking for an advertisement the business placed in the directory, or in the alphabetical list of businesses/residences. Not knowing what the business was, it's going to be difficult -- though definitely possible -- to get there. Sanborn maps would be a lot more effective in terms of targeting your search to a location instead of to a name.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:28 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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