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Found: Secret Sliding Doors Hidden in a Church’s Walls

A renovation revealed the pulley system meant to move them.

The walls hid these giant wheels.
The walls hid these giant wheels. WHO-TV/Screenshot

In Marshalltown, Iowa, a small city northeast of Des Moines, carpenters remodeling a church’s youth room recently found a surprise: an elaborate system of pulleys hidden in the walls.

Many years ago, it turned out, the church had two giant doors that could be raised or lowered to expand that sanctuary below. The church’s historian, Myriam Bryant, told local news channel WHO TV: “When I was going here the doors did go up and down in the sanctuary became double almost in size…We used them for extra people who came for our holidays and sometimes they’re was a very large funeral with many prominent people.”

At some point, though, new walls were built around the doors, and the whole system was forgotten. When the construction crew pulled out the walls in the attic youth room, they did not expect to find giant wheels, steel beams, and ropes connecting them.

From the youth room, it’s not possible to see the doors, but they’re still there—hidden in the walls of the church, on the floor below.