More Secrets at the Most Interesting House in DC

most interesting house

“Dear PoPville,

I’m the same person that found a hidden room underneath my basement a few weeks ago. Over the weekend, my wife and I were cleaning out some of the items left in our house by the previous owners. We removed a picture from the wall and there was a locked safe behind it.

Of course we just have to get into this thing but don’t know where to go from here. I’m assuming a general locksmith can’t crack a safe so who should we call?”

39 Comment

  • I’d try contacting a locksmith and see what they say. A simple google search of that safe model indicates that you can get a duplicate key from the manufacturer by providing a notarized ownership form and some serial numbers

  • Post it to reddit.com then never tell anyone what is inside.

    • palisades

      Someone just posted one this past weekend. If this one ends up on there too, it’s gonna be a long couple of weeks for reddit

  • Secret room in the basement and now a hidden safe? You really need to find out the history of your house! Or make up a spectacular one! 🙂

    • Interesting — “The 23 arrests stemmed from indictments unsealed yesterday that charged 29 people, many of whom lived in the Woodridge neighborhood in Northeast Washington, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack.”
      .
      Thanks for the link!

    • oh man, Brian Tribble – he pops up every now and then trying to make a buck off the Len Bias tragedy.

  • At my old work, we used UPCO for an old safe a few years ago and I would recommend them. Sadly, no treasures inside.

  • One of Rafel Edmonds old stash houses? Safes, secret rooms.. May want to check some of the floor boards while you are at it.

  • Wow! i would be dying to know what the hell went on in this house! Good luck cracking that safe, please tell us if it’s something awesome!

  • Um, call the former owners and ask them? Cheaper and easier than a locksmith. If you don’t know how to reach them, reach out to your real estate agent, who will reach out to theirs, who will know hot to contact them.

    • They might want the contents even though it now conveys. So they have numerous pictures left hanging, weird you are just now removing them

  • WOW aaaand you have a Van Gogh too! Not too shabby;)

    • Haha, just what I was thinking. I’m pulling for the homeowners, but I have a feeling this will be more of a Geraldo/Al Capone vault situation.

  • I am totally guessing, but isn’t it likely that this house was purchased as-is from the estate of someone that is now deceased. That is the only way I can think of that the artwork would be left, and a hidden safe would not be disclosed as part of the sale. If the sellers knew about the safe why would they not disclose that, a built in safe would be a small selling point?

    Just saying, call a locksmith show them your title and have it cracked open. If its guns and money call the police and if its pictures and family papers call the agent that handled the sale.

    • Perhaps. But people do leave cheap art prints behind if they no longer want them, with other junk … perhaps it was not to the liking of the person who was moving out (bought by someone else who lived there.) And even if it was an estate sale, perhaps there was a combination or key left with the decedent’s important papers. And perhaps the person who lived there (dead or alive) didn’t install or use the safe, and just put a picture over it and forgot about it. You never know. They could always ask the agent if they know more about the circumstances of the sale. Usually, you know when purchasing (and often when viewing) if it is an estate sale, as certain disclosures required in DC are waived when that is the case (it is assumed that the heirs don’t know about the condition of the house to make them.)

    • *If it is all guns and money, take the money, then call the police. Or just toss the guns in a lake. Put gloves on first.

    • Do you really think that if money was found in a secret safe in your own home, someone would call the police about that??… lol

  • i just had a safe like that opened (not a wall safe, but a combo safe with a key lock). The locksmith basically told me that given the right tools and enough time, locksmiths can get into anything.

    might just cost you about 600 bucks to open it tho.

  • If you use a locksmith to open it, is the safe still usable? Because I would totally dig having a wall safe.

    • Safes are not especially expensive (I have one that’s much smaller than the one pictured that cost me $60) and installing them in the wall isn’t going to be too difficult (or very expensive if you hire someone to do it), so good news; you can have a wall safe (if you own your home, anyway).

  • Who is your home inspector? I’d like to know so I can be certain I never hire them. Because, wow, any halfway decent home inspection should at least involve pushing a picture or two out of the way.

    • I’ve had a few home inspections by competent inspectors, and no way did they push any artwork out of the way to look behind it.

    • Inspectors tend look for things related to the building code. they’re often very good with the details of whether you have sufficient breakers, but they’ll be clueless about certain kinds of, e.g., water damage. They wouldn’t be looking for safes and only the most meticulous would look for hidden sources of damage that would require looking behind artwork.

      • I’ve had and inspector who insisted on having access to the basement for a full inspection (when I was buying a unit in a larger building) specifically so he could see the walls – and proceed to explain to me what spalling on the brick wall was, and that it indicated some moisture had been present. Very thorough – but then, this wasn’t in the DC area.

    • I Dont Get It

      The inspectors are looking for structural deficiencies not cheap mall art prints.

    • +1 to anon, Rich, and IDGI.

  • Really sounds like you bought a house that once used as a drug house/stash house…

    • This just as easily could have been the home of someone who had some valuables and had some reasonable fears about what was happening around them during the crack years. A great many otherwise stable neighborhoods wound up with a crack house or two and all the property crime that came with it. A ‘crack house” wouldn’t have had safes, it would have had users. Beyond the lowest street level, drug dealers often have little if any active stash and don’t keep much money where they live or deal.

      • Given how many break-ins we read about here, it would seem that a hidden wall safe would be a useful thing to have in most people’s home now, too.

  • Ghostbusters!

  • You guys have the coolest house… first the secret room, now this? I bet you there is more, keep looking!!

  • OP Here,

    So someone hit the nail on the head when they said the house was purchased as an estate sale. We purchased As-Is and specifically asked the inspector to do an inspection that only included a few major things (e.g. foundation, roof, water damage, electrical) since we were getting a small renovation loan and wanted to keep that loan to a certain dollar amount. Otherwise, the bank would have required us to fix what was found at that point which we would eventually undue during our major renovation. There were only a few things that would have deterred us from buying the property and he was very meticulous in checking those items.

    During the inspection (and all but 1 visit) the house was full of stuff so the entrance to the hidden room was covered by tons of furniture. The wall painting wasn’t the only item left after the sale so it didn’t stick out to us at first. What we’ve been told by random neighbors, is the family that owned the house prior to us purchased it in the 60’s and someone from the family lived there until the matriarch died about a year and a half ago. Prior to that people have said the home was used once as the only recording studio black artists could use in DC back in the ’50s. We’ve also been told that Billy Stewart (Sitting in the Park) used to live there.

    We’ve only been able to ascertain historical info from the neighbors. We met the heirs but they’ve been very tight lipped about everything and there was a dispute over the sale so we think it’s better to not contact them.

    We’ll probably go the locksmith route and find nothing, but we’re holding off on doing that for a few more days just so we can continue to daydream about what we’ll do if there is a small velvet bag filled with small sparkling rocks inside.

    • Let’s make a deal.. What about $50 for the safe? Maybe $100 bucks for the safe(s) if you throw in the painting LOL : )

  • Please keep us updated, this brought a smile to my face this Tuesday morning!

  • I am guessing the safe contains the plans for the hidden room.

Comments are closed.