Katherine Dahlberg  Field Notebook Entry 6/24/2013

My group and I have worked diligently over the past week, mapping out the basement of Piece of Mind, located at 123 W. Main Street. Today we took the last measurements, cheerfully thanked the employees for letting us traipse through their store, and looked at one another in silent relief, having finished this rather daunting task (and without any spider bites to boot).

The basement, from what we can tell, is a conglomerate of several additions. The original square basement features doors and windows that would have faced open space, now boarded or bricked up and facing solid walls of filled in space. Moving through the spaces feels as if you are moving up through time, as you walk through an early addition onto the original basement both alike in features and building materials, through a more modern space that has a storefront-like entrance, likely a basement office space, and into the drywall-and-concrete space that Piece of Mind uses for storage. 

Many questions still remain, and indeed we found more questions than answers as we investigated this space. Was there once a ravine that allowed access through what is now a bricked up door? What was this space used for over the years? Why is the east-west width of the rooms so irregular with each new addition? Is there a sub-basement, waiting to be rediscovered under the concrete beneath our feet? What is the significance of March 4th, 1914, and why would someone write this date three times across a plaster wall? We can answer some of these questions through our continued research, with the help of our community and both the university and city archives. Some questions, however, may have to remain a mystery for now, lost in time and simply waiting for the right person to stumble across the answer.

I would like to thank the manager of the Piece of Mind building for allowing us to document his space, and especially thank Piece of Mind’s employees, for being so very gracious as we walked past their beautiful displays every morning and afternoon.