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Gargoyles and Groin Vaults

By September 10, 2011April 8th, 2018Photography, Travel Journal

Reading earlier from the the history of the Seelbach Hotel hardback that was lying on the nightstand in our room, I knew that this space existed. Through its one hundred plus years the Rathskeller has apparently had trouble finding its place. Suffering through a vicious cycle of permanent closures and marginal usage I presume the current owners are too struggling to define a proper use for the vaulted space. Late after dinner, when the hotel seemed more desolate than even early in the morning, I went snooping to locate the historic hall where Al Capone, among countless others, came to drink and gamble. A woman was speaking with the concierge expressing her concern over a recent ghostly encounter she had in the Rathskeller. Listening with a certain countenance of boredom as though he’d heard a similar story many times previous he simply nodded while she proceeded to rationalize the incident to herself stating “this stuff seems to happen to me a lot.” I instantly became even more intrigued and motivated to seek out the haunted hall. I nearly interrupted the conversation to ask for specifics of it’s whereabouts.

When I discovered the heavy, creaky doors I was happy to find that they were unlocked despite the near pitch-black state of the out-of-use room. Lit with the most understated glow the residual burn coming from the lights appeared to be fueled only by the energy of centuries of memories. The Rathskeller was so dark that I never truly got a feel for space until after reviewing the LCD on my camera after a first 30 second exposure. Luckily (or unluckily) I discovered no unexpected presence on the viewfinder or in person. Though the memories of the Seelbach’s Rathskeller certainly crowd its vaults they seemed quiet at least during my visit.

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