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  1. #1

    Question What is this cement thing in my yard?

    We bought a small cabin and motel rental business in NE Michigan.

    It was originally built in 1945, finished in the 1950s. Quite the place we understand back in its heyday.

    There are 2 round "cement things" on the property. One is next to the original house/log cabin, estimated date about 1920. The other next to 1 of the original duplex cabins.

    Both are on ground that is elevated, meaning uphill. They are about 5 feet across, circular in shape. The sides are about 6-8 inches of cement straight down, topped off with decorative rocks cemented in (as is a lot of the landscaping here). As far down as we can see it goes at least 4 feet or more. They do not hold water when it rains. There is no piping.

    When we purchased it, there were wood covers over them, which were rotting, so we did replace those.

    I have researched wells, dry wells and cisterns and they do not appear to be any of these. They can not possibly be for storm drainge as they are so far above ground level.

    My question,of course, what are they then? Ideally I'd like to turn them into wishing wells, but if they are of use to the property, or of historic interest, I do not want to destroy that.

    Any ideas appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    980

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    I grew up around mio and a lot of these old cabin rentals like that had no original plumbing and they had out houses and remained like that till the 60's and 70's most of these didn't follow standard patterns but were rather built out of what ever was handy. remember most of these only came up anywhere from 8 inches to a couple of feet above ground then had a wood platform on top then a hand pump that had to be primed to wet the leathers so they would swell. if you go to some of the old campgrounds like pickeral lake they probally still have them in use.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    175

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    I'd lay money on them being cisterns.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    Thanks so much for all of the responses, but "outhouse" actually makes the most sense as we have found no foundationts, etc. for any outhouses (yet).

    Cistern - I actually doubt "Wells and cisterns both provide water, but they do it in different ways. A cistern is a container which is used for the purpose of storing water; cisterns can be found in various sizes all over the world, both above and below ground".

    This "thing" holds not a drop of water - it could rain for days and still be dry as a bone!

    Cesspool? Same thing - holds no water at all. So no mosquitos there!

    and havanagranite - if you grew up around Mio, you know our place. The North Star Resort - at the south end at the Top of the Hill! And we do go to Pickeral Lake quite often, great blue gill and pearch fishing!! I'll have to see if they still have outhouses next time we are there.

    I'll have to start digging these things out then, you never know what burried treasure we might find.

    Thanks once again,
    Last edited by Livingonadream; 04-08-2008 at 03:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    980

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    north star resort. know it well almost across the road from northern sporting goods owned by the gorderts. went to school with their daughter tina.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    980

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    it just occured to me that you might go to one of the resturants in town in the morning around 9 in the morning when a lot of the older ones are going out for morning coffee and ask or you could go out to stiner museam near fairview and ask them, they would have a good idea as to what it is.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    Good idea! I just wish all the people who have promised me pics of this place back in the day would follow thru and send them. Unfortunately the guy we bought the place from took the scrapbook with him when he moved. This book has been handed down from owner to owner thru the years. We know that the Beaks (you most likely know them too! LOL) have a reel-to-reel of the place being built. It would really clue us in as to what all of the pipes, electrical, plumbing that we are finding actually was. I'd like to restore this place as much as possible. Unfortunately, the beautiful pool is beyond restoring and will never be again. The whole place is a mystery and like trying to put together a puzzle without all of the pieces!

    Northern Sporting Goods is no more. The owner sold all of his inventory and retired. He was a really nice guy tho, always encouraging my girls in their hunting endeavors.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Livingonadream View Post
    Good idea! I just wish all the people who have promised me pics of this place back in the day would follow thru and send them. Unfortunately the guy we bought the place from took the scrapbook with him when he moved. This book has been handed down from owner to owner thru the years. We know that the Beaks (you most likely know them too! LOL) have a reel-to-reel of the place being built. It would really clue us in as to what all of the pipes, electrical, plumbing that we are finding actually was. I'd like to restore this place as much as possible. Unfortunately, the beautiful pool is beyond restoring and will never be again. The whole place is a mystery and like trying to put together a puzzle without all of the pieces!

    Northern Sporting Goods is no more. The owner sold all of his inventory and retired. He was a really nice guy tho, always encouraging my girls in their hunting endeavors.
    I know a frank beak over on west 6th street and went to school with a kathy beak. small world. out at stiner museam they have a lot of pictures out there from way back. when we cleaned out my grandmothers we took a lot of her old pictures out there to add to their large collection. if you tell them what you are looking for and why they probally can help you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: What is this cement thing in my yard?

    The cement things in your yard are called "peelers". In the old days, they would throw the food scraps and peels, etc into those holes and let them biodegrade.

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