In Memory of J.B. Milano

 

The Door

John Milano and I graduated from Myers Park High in the summer of 1960. Still trying find a direction we wanted to pursue in life we tried our hand at anything. My dad ask me if I wanted to pickup some quick money cleaning out a sub basement on film row located on South Church Street? I jumped at the chance. Dad said; if know anyone else who wants a weeks work bring them up to the site. I called John Milano and told him about the quick money offer, he jumped at the chance. The next day we showed up at 7:00 am at the old Warner Bros building and Mr. Martin told us to follow him down in the bowels of the old building. There were at least 40 years of old files packed in boxes in the basement and they had to go as the building was being fitted with a new gas heating plant to replace to the old coal furnace. The were several hand trucks to roll the boxes over to a coal shoot that came up through the sidewalk on Church Street. We worked our way through the mass of boxes and discovered steps leading down to another level. Reporting our findings to Mr. Martin he told us to check it out for more boxes. When the last box was removed from the steps we opened the door. With a couple of flash lights we stepped in looking for a light switch. The air was damp and had an earthy smell. Looking around the door we found a light switch and turned it on. Several clear light bulbs came to life and lit a portion of the sub-basement. The floor was wet. This was a utility corridor that ran behind a row of buildings. We walked from the MGM building to the Universal Films building. There were a number of discarded items left of the floor. We found a door that appeared to run under the Latter Arcade which ran from South Tryon to South Church St. it was locked from the other side. Another note of interest was there was an area where the floor rose up several steps and back down again. My conclusion is that a gold mine shaft ran under that raised area. I would have liked to go back and open some of those locked doors just to see what was on the other side. When the boxes were gone we collected our pay and never went back.