Hartman Hotel, Basement
The Hartman Hotel
The Basement

The basement is definitely the most interesting part of the Hartman Hotel. First of all, it's divided into two parts. Both sections contain many rooms and hallways and elements from every period in the building's history.

In the north basement we walked through a big room with a rusty sink and mysterious canisters in the corner. A long room with lots of rusty circuit boxes leads to another area, where there is another sink and the bottom of the newer elevator, along with another staircase.

In the southern half of the basement we discovered some really cool stuff. First of all, the bank definitely left its mark; there are no less than four walk-in safes down there. Only two were open; the other two we couldn't budge.

One has all the racks still in it; it's interesting to think that millions of dollars once occupied that space.

But the coolest safe in the basement is a gigantic, stainless steel one. It stands alone with a narrow alley separating it from the wall to prevent thieves tunnelling in. There are two combination locks in the door, and no matter how the two of us tried to turn the wheels on it, it wouldn't open.

This half of the basement is a little like a maze; we wandered through dozens of rooms and corridors and probably missed a few. There are dingy old bathrooms down there, as well as some maintenance and electrical rooms. I crouch-walked into one alcove and found some old beer bottles whose labels I could barely make out.

And then we have, as always, that perennial favorite--the narrow bathroom filled with falling-down stall walls and half-shattered urinals.

One section of the basement was forbiddingly gated and partially bricked off. Looking over the wall we saw nothing but another empty room with no doors. Fortunado was nowhere to be found.

We got our feet wet in a flooded hallway and also saw old-fashioned key stations which the night watchmen used to turn in their belts to show they'd done their rounds every night. A few doors creaked, and we saw some old signs of homeless habitation, but no one snuck up on us or anything. Still, the basement would probably be very scary by yourself.