Basically this section of the Vance Hotel was once boarded up, but was nearly destroyed by a fire. it sat for some years in it's damaged state until recently, when it was cleared out. For what reason I don't know, but I assume something is going to be done with it or the structure is going to be torn down completely.

The fire clogged the drains with soot. The drains lead me to believe this may have been a changing room for the basement pool, which is something I would truly love to see. The legend is that a girl drowned in the pool sometime in the distant past and as a result it was drained and covered over to make way for a dance floor. Speaking of, I received a very interesting e-mail sometime ago about said pool and the basement as well- the author stayed at the Vance during a friend's wedding and was privy to sort of an impromptu tour:

Wedding guests were the only people at the hotel, so we had the run of 
the place.  The night clerk was pretty bored and agreed to take me on a 
tour of the basement.  He also told me a bit about the history of the 
hotel. It was converted into a nursing home for 10 years before being 
turned into a hotel again.  Also, there are 2 underground pools (long 
since boarded over) and at one point a little girl drowned in the kiddie 
pool (under the parking lot).  Hotel guests have called the front desk 
reporting that a little girl knocked on their door and asked them were 
her parents were, as she was lost.  Every time this happened, there were 
no children staying at the hotel.  Hotel staff have reported seeing a 
man on the elevator- he's an older gentleman wearing a raincoat and 
carrying a little black dog.  He always gets off on the third floor and 
walks down the hallway.  The night clerk was telling me that several 
staffers have quit over the years after seeing things rearranged seconds 
after turning their backs.  One of the women who saw the man on the 
elevator was so frightened, she went out to her car and stayed there until 
morning relief came.  She never returned.

So, the basement was AMAZING!  There is a labyrinth of old ball rooms 
and storage areas down there.  There's also a full kitchen and 
restaurant that's abandoned, as well as a speakeasy.  At one point, there 
was an underground tunnel leading from City Hall right into the speakeasy.  
It's cemented over now, but you can still see where it was.  The 
clerk agreed to take me to see the pool and I got goosebumps all over my 
arms. He said that none of the employees except himself will ever go into 
the old pool area because it was so creepy.  As we neared the pool 
room, I noticed that the walls were tiled with these cool old tiles, and 
there were lots of abandoned restrooms and changing cabanas.  Someone had 
recently attached a padlock to the door leading to the pool so we never 
made it in! I was so disappointed.
 

Here's a view from inside looking out.

I also received an e-mail about the markings on this beam- apparently they identify the manufacturer and the dimensions.

The side wall.

and from the outside.

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